April 20, 2014
Trinamool questions ED`s hyper-activity in chit-fund probe before elections
Trinamool National Spokespersons Amit Mitra and Derek O`Brien today addressed a press conference at Trinamool Bhavan where they raised questions over the sudden flurry of activity by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding the Saradha scam, just two days before the polls.
Amit Mitra, who is also the Finance and Industry Minister of West Bengal, posed several questions before the media regarding the selective actions taken by the CBI and ED in various cases of financial irregularities. He also complained that the Central Government was delaying the Presidential assent for the anti chit fund Bill passed by the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
ED, CBI being used to serve political purposes
Amit Mitra began by quoting Dr Gopal Krishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal, who at a recent event had called the CBI a “dirty tricks department” and the Government “machete”. He also said CBI engages in selective leaks of facts. Dr Mitra added that the ED was an agency under the direct control of Finance Ministry and was being used for political motives by P Chidambaram, who has only 26 days left in his tenure as the Finance Minister.
“Where was ED when Sudipta Sen was arrested from Kashmir? Why are they raising the issue during polls?” asked Dr Mitra. He also raised the issue of Sudipta Sen`s letter to the CBI where he had named Nalini Chidambaram.
While answering a question about CBI investigation in Saradha scam, the Finance Minister said, “The SIT is conducting investigations. SS Commission is doing its job. Why is there a need for CBI probe? The CBI Director himself says the agency is like a caged parrot. How can their probe be impartial?”
Amit Mitra posed four questions to the ED
1. Senior Advocates are usually barred from meeting clients directly. Why did the lady lawyer make an exception in the case of Sudipta Sen? Who was the solicitor? Why were conventions of the legal profession ignored in this `special` matter?
2. One Congress Minister`s lawyer-wife draws up an agreement to get Rs 42 crore in capital for a former Congress Minister`s wife for a dubious business project. What was the lady lawyer`s interest in the venture? Why was she soliciting capital and investment from Sudipta Sen, almost in the manner of an investment banker?
3. The lady lawyer, wife of a powerful minister, allegedly charged Rs 1 crore to draft an agreement other lawyers could have done for a much smaller sum. Why was she paid such a generous fee? What was the quid pro quo?
4. On May 14, 2012, the Parliament debated the involvement of P Chidambaram`s son in Aircel-Maxis deal. Who holds 94% stake in Ausbridge Holdings? Who benefitted from Aircel-Maxis deal? Has ED investigated this? Why are they raking up Saradha issue two days before the elections?
Amit Mitra slams Rahul Gandhi`s `ignorance`
Rahul Gandhi is immature and inexperienced, Amit Mitra said. “The SC has issued notice to the Centre on chit funds. Why is Rahul Gandhi silent on that?” he demanded to know. Is Rahul Gandhi ignorant about the formation of Shyamal Sen commission, wondered the WB Finance Minister. Rahul Gandhi does not make constructive criticism. He is either ignorant or politically motivated, he remarked.
WB Government is compensating duped investors
“When did Sanchayita chit fund scam happen? How many people got money back then?” asked Amit Mitra. He said that West Bengal is the only state in India where the Mamata Banerjee led Government formed a commission to return money to 17 lakh duped investors.
“What actions have been taken by Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar governments regarding chit funds?” he demanded to know. WB Finance Ministry allotted Rs 165 crores to return money to those duped by chit funds. The Commission has carried out e-auction of the properties of Sudipta Sen for transparency, Dr Mitra added.
Centre`s silence over West Bengal`s Bill on combating chit funds
AMit Mitra said that States need more power to deal with chit funds. He added that a A holistic, federal solution is needed for combating chit funds.
“In 2009, Govt of India brought a Bill against chit funds with severe flaws. It was returned by the President. The Bill against chit funds prepared by the WB Govt was crisp and was very strong. But Centre had problems with it. We have sent a second, amended Bill to the MHA. They have not yet reverted” said Dr Mitra.
“I have written to Shinde ji over the `deafening silence` of the Govt of India regarding anti chit fund Bill of WB. I have written that the Govt of India is solely responsible for the delay in the passage of the Bill. We genuinely wanted to pass the anti chit fund Bill for the sake of the people. The Centre sat over it” he added.
“If indeed an investigation is needed, it must start with page no. 10 of Sudipta Sen`s letter to CBI”, quipped Amit Mitra as his concluding remark.