Saradha scam: Suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh arrested

PTI
Published Nov 24, 2013, 2:21 am IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 7:59 pm IST
Kunal Ghosh arrested by the Bidhannagar Police in connection with the Saradha Group ponzi scam.
Suspended Rajya Sabha member of TMC Kunal Ghosh during an interrogation at Bidhannagar South Police Station near Kolkata on Saturday in connection with Sardha Chit Fund scam. Ghosh was later arrested - PTI
 Suspended Rajya Sabha member of TMC Kunal Ghosh during an interrogation at Bidhannagar South Police Station near Kolkata on Saturday in connection with Sardha Chit Fund scam. Ghosh was later arrested - PTI

Kolkata: Suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh was on Saturday arrested by the Bidhannagar Police in connection with the Saradha Group ponzi scam.

"Kunal Ghosh was arrested this evening," Bidhannagar Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar told PTI here. Ghosh, the CEO of Saradha Group's media arm, was charged under sections 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC, deputy commissioner of Bidhannagar Police, Arnab Ghosh, said at a press conference.

 

The arrest was made in connection with a complaint filed by the general manager of a company Broadcast Worldwide, Arnab Ghosh said.

"The evidence we have got indicates that Kunal Ghosh was involved in the conspiracy along with Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen and others," he said. "There is involvement and fresh evidence has been found against him," he said.

Investigation is on, the DCP said. Meanwhile, Kunal Ghosh filed an FIR against Arnab Ghosh, the deputy commissioner (detective department) at the same police station in the afternoon, where he was then grilled by the police.

 

"Kunal Ghosh played an equal part with Sudipta Sen in most of his misdeeds," the DC(DD) said. "We have arrested him on the basis of the evidence found against him," he said, adding "he is now in our custody."

Ghosh, a journalist-turned politician, was arrested in connection with a case (number 34) at the Electronic Complex police station. "He has been arrested in the case and the evidence is strong enough warranting his arrest," Arnab Ghosh stressed.

"There are also complaints of not paying salaries to employees of the media organisations run by the group," he said. Asked what conspiracy Ghosh was involved in, the officer said "conspiracy that tantamounts to all these happenings, that's all I can say."

 

"Ghosh's involvement has been found beyond the portfolio (Group CEO of Saradha Media) he held," the DC(DD) said indicating his alleged involvement in the over Rs 2,300 crore ponzi funds scam. "From the evidence that we have got, it has been prima facie found that Ghosh played equal part in the conspiracy with Sen and others," he said.

Asked whether the police had any proof of siphoning of funds by Ghosh from the ponzi company, Arnab Ghosh said 'we have got some inputs'. 

"Formalities as per the demands of law is satisfied," he said when asked whether necessary formalities were complied with as Ghosh was a member of the Rajya Sabha. Asked about the FIR lodged against him by the MP, the officer said "it will be dealt with as per law."

 

Ghosh, who filed the FIR at Bidhannagar South police station, told reporters before filing it that the police officer had allegedly blackmailed him during the series of interrogations relating to the Saradha scam. He alleged that Ghosh had asked him to reply to questions which were beyond his comprehension or to face arrest. 

Apprehending arrest in the Saradha scam, Kunal Ghosh had on Friday held a press conference at his residence and said that he would reveal the names of party leaders to the police and accused a section of the party leadership of making him a scapegoat.

 

Ghosh had claimed he would give the names of several Trinamool Congress leaders to the police and the media. The Rajya Sabha MP was interrogated by the Bidhannagar Police on ten occasions before today, apart from being interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).

Ghosh headed the media business of Saradha Group, a number of newspapers and news channels, which were abruptly closed down in April last after the scam was unearthed. Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen was arrested from Sonmarg in Jammu and Kashmir in April alongwith two other close associates.

 

The Saradha Group ran its ponzi business through its four group companies and allegedly amassed over Rs 2,300 crore, as per the ED's estimate, most of which is yet to be accounted for. Lakhs of investors, many of whom put their life's savings in the funds, lost everything after Saradha went bust and its offices across West Bengal, Assam and Odisha closed down abruptly.

The state government set up a one-man commission of Justice (retd) Shyamal Sen to probe the scam and a corpus of Rs 500 crore was set up by the Mamata Banerjee government to pay back the investors. The government paid back the principal amount to several hundreds of small investors, who deposited Rs 10,000 or less. The commission has received a whopping 1.8 million complaints.

 

Kunal Ghosh, who was once known to have a close rapport with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, was leading a tirade against the party in respect of the scam after his name cropped up. He has been insisting on a CBI probe to unravel the alleged role of other party leaders.

The party suspended Ghosh for anti-party activities in September after he made unsavoury remarks against it while sharing dais with dissident party MP Somen Mitra and suspended MLA Shikha Mitra.

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