CBI finds no Saradha link in TMC’s accounts | The Times of India

This article was published in The Times of India on 24 August, 2015

After a six-month probe into Trinamool Congress’s sources of funds, the CBI has not found any suspicious transactions in the party’s accounts, especially from the Saradha group of companies.

“We have analyzed the income tax returns and other documents related to TMC but there is no unexplained or suspicious transaction in the accounts from Saradha companies, as suspected earlier,” a top CBI official said.

Probing TMC’s funds, which included purchase of one of Mamata’s paintings by Saradha group chief Sudipta Sen for Rs 1.80 crore, was part of CBI’s FIR which focused on the wider conspiracy in the Saradha chit fund scam. It was being suspected that Saradha group gave several crores to TMC between 2010 and 2014, which were not legitimate transactions.

The agency had examined TMC general secretary Subrata Baxi seeking details of party’s accounts earlier this year.

TMC had attacked CBI several times, saying it was working on the directions of the Centre.

Arrest of several leaders by the CBI in the multi-crore Saradha scam had put the party on the back foot. The CBI has arrested and charge-sheeted senior TMC leaders including Madan Mitra, former Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose in the Rs 2,500 crore ponzi scam.

Congress leader and former minister of state for home in the Narsihma Rao government Matang Sinh was also arrested and named in a charge-sheet earlier this month for allegedly siphoning off Rs 28 crore from the ponzi schemes run by Saradha chairman Sudipta Sen.

Meanwhile, the agency on Sunday lodged five more FIRs against different chit fund companies operating in Assam for cheating several thousand investors. The companies named in the fresh FIRs include Rose Valley, Silicon MultiServices Ltd, Uro Agro India Ltd, Uro Infra Reality India Ltd and Prayag Hi-Rise Infotech Ltd, CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said.

Trinamool accounts transparent, nothing to hide: Derek O’Brien

Statement by the Chief National Spokesperson of the party and leader of the All India Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien:

28 May, 2015 | 1:00 PM

“Harassment continues. Lots of pesky questions on Trinamool accounts. Big parties & leaders amass billions, little guys get the questions. Before questioning us, question yourselves and your daylight dacoity to fund your multi-billion dollar election campaign. Trinamool accounts are transparent, nothing to hide.”

The CM’s vision is clear – To make Kolkata the No. 1 city in civic amenities: Abhishek Banerjee

We have reproduced below an interview of Abhishek Banerjee with The Times of India as published on April 17, 2015:

Q: How would you rate the KMC board’s performance?

AB: It has been a great five years for KMC because there have been significant changes which Kolkatans can see and experience. To name a few -modernisation of the sewerage system, renovation of parks, riverfront beautification, healthcare initiatives, better roads, a modern garbage disposal system that rid the city of vats. The macro direction is being given by one per son -chief minister Mamata Banerjee. She understands the needs of people and insights turned into invaluable milestones for KMC


Q: If voted to power, what would you want KMC to focus on?

AB: The KMC, under the mayor’s stewardship and guidance of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has laid a solid foundation. It is natural that we will build on this in the next five years. As in everything Mamata Banerjee does, specific timelines will be set. The performance of every ward will continue to be closely monitored. The CM’s vision is clear ­ to make Kolkata the number one city in the country in terms of civic amenities. We are heading towards that goal.



Abhishek Banerjee campaigning for KMC elections


Q: You have been personally targeted by BJP on a range of issues, including your postgraduate qualification. Your reaction…

AB: I am just a foot soldier doing a job assigned by the party. I will not let such stray and wild accusations divert me from my goal. There is a lot of work to be done. After 34 years, Bengal is finally on the development track with new vigour. Nothing should distract us from that. We have gone to the people with a solid development agenda but the Opposition has only spread canards. We have full faith the people will give a befitting reply to all allegations.


Q: The ruling party is mostly blamed for the pre-poll violence. How would you react to that?

AB: When the writing is on the wall and you are fighting for the third or fourth place, you have to look for excuses. The administration has acted on complaints. Police don’t vote; neither do rowdies. Citizens do, and they will do it again, peacefully. Excuses are what losers look for.



On the campaign trail…


Q: Do you think the CBI notices on Trinamool and the Saradha scam will deflect public attention from core issues, like development?

AB: I have said this several times in my election rallies. CBI is the Controlled Branch of Investigation of BJP. Parties have used CBI as a political tool in the past; BJP is doing so now. But we will not cow down before CBI, or any other government agency. CBI will also not make Mamata Banerjee change track on the Land Bill.

Trinamool will continue to oppose the anti-poor and anti-farmer Bill. Land has always been part of Trinamool’s DNA. Our party chief had fasted 26 days for this cause. We are against forcible acquisition. However, we do believe that agriculture and industry can co-exist peacefully. Here, Bengal is leading by example.


AB Pro

While campaigning for municipal elections in Kolkata


Q: Trinamool is the only party to have announced its mayoral candidate. The party has been functioning like a well-drilled poll machine…

AB: (Smiles) Please do not refer to us as a poll machine. We are a people-centric party. We work for people though the year. We deliver on promises. People trust us. Yes, I think we ran an organized professional campaign. Don’t grudge us that. The final say is with the people and, of course, we are confident truth and development will prevail.


Q: You have always been a behind the-scenes strategist. Now, you are increasingly becoming the face of the party’s election campaign. How was the transition, personally?

AB: I still consider myself to be a student of politics. I am humbled that the party has given me responsibilities beyond that of an MP. I will continue to work hard and my single minded goal is to serve the people and fulfil their expectations.

No place for vendetta politics in democracy: Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Chairperson Ms Mamata Banerjee today challenged the Opposition, including BJP, to fight politically instead of relying on canards and smear campaign. She was addressing a public meeting at Beleghata where she asked people to vote for development, peace and prosperity.

Paid media

Didi targeted a section of the media for always portraying Trinamool in bad light. “Even if some minor altercations happen between neighbours, they blame TMC,” she said. “This is the era of paid news. Some media houses are run by BJP, some by CPM. Crores of money were spent by some parties during Lok Sabha polls to control media,” she added.

Opposition has no work

Lashing out at the Opposition, she said, “They are jealous. Those born with silver spoon in mouth say how can a woman from a humble background run a State. I have always struggled for people. I went on 26-day hunger strike for the people of Singur. This Central Government does not care for common man. People are saying ‘kya socha tha, kya ho gaya’. Why did the BJP get a drubbing in Delhi? People from all walks of society have rejected them.”

She also slammed the CPM. “There are two types of trees: one which can stand on its own and those that are dependent on others. CPM is of the second type. CPM is dependent on BJP for its survival. Congress is non-existent. CPM, Congress and BJP speak the same language, that of slander against Mamata and her party. The Opposition has no work. They only appear on TV studios to speak ill of me,” she said.

Mamata Banerjee also targeted the CPM for raising the bogey of terror while their regime had a series of incidents of violence. “The CPM which never allowed peaceful polls in Beleghata is talking about terror now. Has the CPM forgotten about Keshpur, Garhbeta? Have they forgotten about Netai, Nandigram, Bantala, Dhantala?” she demanded to know. Our slogan was “Bodla noy bodol chai” (Change not revenge). This is our courtesy not our weakness, she added.

Sale of paintings

Regarding the attack of Opposition about the sale of her paintings, she said, “They are questioning my paintings. The money from the sale of my book ‘Upolobdhi’ was donated to the families in Amta whose hands were chopped off by CPM. Who is the Opposition to decide the value of my paintings? My paintings are sold to raise money for the party. The money is used to run election campaign. Every political party submits accounts to EC and files IT returns.”

People will teach Opposition a lesson

Didi said whenever elections come, the Opposition attacks her over the paintings. This is not even an issue, she said. “People of Bengal will teach them a lesson. Those who spent thousands of crores during Lok Sabha election are now raising questions about us. Trinamool Congress is a transparent political party,” she added.

No vendetta politics

Mamata Banerjee also challenged the Opposition to fight politically. “CBI comes under the jurisdiction of PMO. ED and IT Dept are under Finance Ministry. They want to gag our voices. It is not easy. There is no place for political vendetta in democracy. We believe in peace,” she said.

Vote for development

“The Opposition will only indulge in canards. They are expert in smear campaign, propaganda and slander. We cannot stoop to that level,” said Didi. She stressed that people have witnessed development in the last five years. She highlighted Bengal’s achievements in Kanyashree scheme, Nirmal Bangla Abhiyaan, beautification of Kolkata, reduction in water-logging. She said Kolkata was the only non-planned city to witness such large-scale development.

How does BJP know the details of docs submitted to CBI: Abhishek

Trinamool on Saturday slammed the BJP for all the slander campaign against Mamata Banerjee. Rebutting all the propaganda launched by BJP, Mamata Banerjee had herself shared details of the proceeds from the sale of her paintings and books during a rally at Satyanarayan Park in Barabazar.

Trinamool Youth Congress President Abhishek Banerjee kept up the momentum by lashing out at BJP during a rally at north Kolkata on Saturday. He demanded to know how details of documents submitted to CBI were reaching BJP. He alleged that CBI is acting at the behest of the central government.

Trinamool MP Suvendu Adhikari, who was also campaigning in north Kolkata, said CBI has failed to deliver in all cases it was handling. He said CBI has lost all its credibility. Suvendu added that despite all the propaganda, people rejected BJP in Bongaon and Krishnaganj; same thing will happen in municipal polls.

We demand state-funded elections: Mamata Banerjee at Barabazar

Trinamool Chairperson Ms Mamata Banerjee today started her municipal campaign by addressing a rally at Satyanarayan Park in Barabazar area.

She highlighted the cosmopolitan culture of Bengal during her speech and asked people not to vote for BJP which wants to destroy the liberal culture of the State.

People are the pillar of democracy

“In a democracy, people are our strength. We must reach out to them without arrogance. Trinamool Congress believes in free, fair, peaceful polls. People are the pillar of strength for a democracy. People are our family, doesn’t matter what your religion or language is,” she said.

The Chairperson added, “BJP wants to pit Hindus against Muslims, Christians against Hindus. They want to create fissures between people. Tyag ka naam hai Hindu, Iman ka naam hai Mussalman. Pyar ka naam hai Isai. Sikh ka naam hai balidan. Yeh hai hamara Hindustan.”

Mamata Banerjee reiterated that people cannot be fooled with lies and they will vote for development. She added that BJP, CPM and Congress were different sides of the same coin as they only engage in slander. She also slammed a few media houses for manufacturing propaganda against TMC.

TMC cannot be targeted with CBI

The Chairperson also took on the Opposition for levelling baseless charges against her regarding chit funds. She made it clear that it was TMC-led government that arrested the owner of a chit fund company from Kashmir.

She also said that just before elections, TMC is being targeted with CBI. “This is because we fight for the rights of people,” she added. “Narendra Modi can send 500 notices to TMC if he wants. We will not budge from our stand on Land Bill,” she dared the Centre.

Sale of paintings

Regarding sales of her paintings and books she said: “They are questioning my paintings and books. Who are they to ask these details? We have filed IT returns. I don’t claim to be a professional painter. I draw on canvas whatever I feel like. If people give us even one penny from their hard-earned money, it is a big blessing for us. Proceeds from the sales of my paintings and books go to the party. I don’t take a rupee. I even pay for my tea at Nabanna.”

Electoral reforms

Mamata Banerjee also called for electoral reforms, “We are a small party. We don’t have crores of rupees like other parties to launch multi-crore ad campaign. We have demanded electoral reforms since 1995. We demand state funding of elections. There is no hide and seek. Jago Bangla did an open exhibition of my paintings. They filed an affidavit. We also donated money from the sale of paintings to charity.”

BJP is misusing CBI for political purpose: Partha Chatterjee

Partha Chatterjee, Secretary General of Trinamool Congress, today slammed the BJP for using CBI for political purpose. He was addressing the press at Trinamool Bhavan, where he strongly criticised CBI for overstepping their constitutional authority.

He said, “Before any election, BJP uses CBI to target Trinamool. They are afraid of our popularity. Opposition now relies on CBI for doing their political campaigns.”

Partha Chatterjee also questioned CBI’s motives, “Why is CBI asking only Trinamool for accounts? What about BJP’s multi crore Lok Sabha campaign?”

He questioned the constitutional authority of the CBI to ask for accounts as those records are submitted to the IT Department and the Election Commission.

Partha Chatterjee further added, “It is a sad truth that CBI has lost its credibility and efficiency. Various cases in this State have shown that.”

CBI is acting at the behest of a political party: Partha Chatterjee

Partha Chatterjee, Secretary General of Trinamool Congress, today questioned the credibility of the CBI during a press conference. He said, “CBI has lost all its credibility. It is acting at the behest of a political party.”

He added,”CBI swung into action after we declared we will hold protest against land ordinance. It is acting politically before elections.”

He also observed that before the last by-polls at Bongaon and Krishnaganj, CBI had tried to do the same thing. He also questioned the timing of the phone call to the All India General Secretary of the party just before municipal polls.

He further added, “Trinamool is a transparent party. We have nothing to hide.”

TMC RS MPs to meet Vice President on Feb 6

 A delegation of Trinamool Congress will meet Vice-president and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari to take up the issue of MPs being “targetted” by the CBI in the Saradha scam.

“It was decided at the TMC core committee meeting, which was held a few days ago and presided over by party supremoMamata Banerjee that an eight-member delegation of our Rajya Sabha members would meet Hamid Ansari who has given a date on February 6 to meet him,” TMC national spokesman and RS MP Derek O’Brien told PTI here today.

“We want to share with the Vice-president, who is Chairman of Rajya Sabha our concern that TMC RS members were being targeted politically by using CBI as the BJP is in minority there (RS) and TMC has taken the lead role in the opposition there,” O’Brien said.

TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had alleged after the party’s core committee meeting on Saturday that BJP, which does not have majority in Rajya Sabha, was arresting TMC MPs on various pretexts and a delegation of the party would meet Ansari.


PTI Story

Abhishek Banerjee takes on ABP and BJP

National President of Trinamool Youth Congress Abhishek Banerjee  today slammed Anandabazar Patrika group and BJP for their malicious propaganda of lies and smear campaign against Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool Congress.

He was addressing a rally of Trinamool Youth Congress at Bardhaman Chowringhee Maidan. The rally was attended by various leaders of the party  Partha Chatterjee, Secretary General of AITC, Firhad Hakim, General Secretary Subrata Bakhsi, WB State President, Chandrima Bhattacharya, State President of Trinamool Mahila Congress and senior leader Subrata Mukherjee. The meeting was attended by a sea of enthusiast supporters.

He said that he has slapped legal notices to ABP for false news regarding him, which the media group is yet to respond to.  He also questioned how front page headlines in ABP and Ganasakti was exactly similar. He reiterated what the Chairperson has been saying all these while, that ABP published several advertisements of Saradha.

Abhishek Banerjee challeneged the owner of ABP group, Aveek Sarkar to produce the balance sheet of all the companies he is associated with, and he is ready to produce his record within 30 minutes.

Highlights of Abhishek Banerjee’s speech:

  • Yesterday Amit Shah said Saradha raised Rs 15000 crore. But in SC order it is said an independent auditor from SEBI said the amount was Rs 2459 crore.
  • I have sent legal notices to ABP group for false news. They haven’t furnished any proof yet. Will take them to court.
  • Every evening on TV shows, few dalals are carrying out negative propaganda against Mamata Banerjee.
  • ABP is spreading malicious lies against Mamata Banerjee and TMC.
  • Will ABP do a panel discussion on the manifold increase in assets of BJP Ministers?
  • On 13th January, ABP and Ganashakti carried the exact same headline on front page.
  • What is the connection between ABP and Ganashakti? ABP also published advertisements of Saradha.
  • If Aveek Sarkar produces balance sheets of all companies he is associated with, I will produce my records within 30 mins.
  • Neither CBI nor ABP will be able to save BJP. Common people are the only saviour in elections.
  • After becoming the President of BJP, Amit Shah came to Chowringhee to campaign for by-polls. TMC won that seat by 15000 votes.
  • In the students’ union polls, TMCP has formed the union in majority colleges.
  • The more they criticise TMC; people will shower their support on us.
  • BJP returned the pilot cars sent by WB Government so that they could criticise Mamata Banerjee.
  • They traveled without pilot cars in Bardhaman. This is an example that Bengal is safe and secure.
  • Did they talk about development, peace, culture or progress? No. They only talked about capturing power.
  • Mamata Banerjee has a long history of struggle. She did not become a mass leader overnight. From Netai to Nandigram, Singur to Tapasi Malik,  Mamata Banerjee has always stood by the people.
  • They want to defeat Mamata Banerjee by indulging in propaganda through a section of media.
  • Can you block the sunlight by covering your eyes with your hand? No. Defeating Mamata Banerjee is not easy.
  • Let there be a competition based on development. Let them talk based on facts and figures.
  • They do not know the Bengali language, Bengali culture. Will Amit Shah be able to read the banner on stage?
  • Mamata Banerjee started her struggle wearing a hawai chappal 3 decades ago. She still follows the same lifestyle.
  • They think they will bring poriborton in Bengal by visiting the State for 5 minutes.
  • Did Amit Shah say a word against Biman babu or Buddha babu? Did he say anything about Adhir babu?
  • Mamata Banerjee visited Jangalmahal 38 times and Darjeeling 42 times in the last 3.5 years. Standing in Darjeeling, Mamata Banerjee made it clear that she will not allow division of Bengal.
  • A few dalals are carrying out negative propaganda against Mamata Banerjee.
  • The support of people is with TMC and Mamata Banerjee. BJP cannot digest this fact.
  • Yesterday BJP said in their rally ABVP won elections at Raghunathpur College. In reality TMCP won the polls in that college.
  • A particular media group is spreading malicious lies against Mamata Banerjee and TMC.
  • The assets of BJP MPs and Ministers are increasing manifold since Lok Sabha elections.
  • Should there not be a CBI probe into the multifold increase in assets of BJP Ministers? Will there be panel discussions in TV?
  • Investments r pouring into Bengal. WB CM is visiting different places with industrialists for investment opportunities.
  • Trinamool will win the upcoming Municipal polls in Bengal.
  • BJP will suffer a huge defeat in the upcoming polls.