Trinamool MP quizzed in chit fund mess, denies allegations

Kolkata, April 29 (IANS) Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh, who headed the Saradha Group’s media arm, was quizzed by police Monday in the group’s chit fund muddle but rubbished allegations of complicity in the scam and claimed he was ignorant about the “Ponzi” funding of the company.

“It is most unfortunate that I am being singled out when the rest of the media houses are still publishing advertisements of chit fund companies. I was a mere employee of the company. How would I know it was funded through chit fund,” claimed Ghosh, who used to get a monthly remuneration of Rs.15 lakh besides another Rs 1.50 lakh in allowances.

Ghosh earlier in the day claimed that canards against him were being intentionally spread, and expressed his desire to meet police and clear the allegations made against him. He was Monday summoned by the Bidhannagar police comissionerate which is investigating the scam and has taken Saradha Group chief Sudipta Sen in its custody.

The Rajya Sabha member also claimed that the company officials had told him that the group’s media arm – Saradha Publishing and Printing Pvt. Ltd. – was being funded through its export business.

“When you join any company as its employee, do you enquire about its directors or whether the company is being funded through chit fund money?” argued Ghosh.

Ghosh, who was the CEO of the company’s media unit, controlling at least ten television news channels and newspapers run by the group, has claimed that he resigned before the arm was shut down completely.

Sen, behind bars and facing prosecution for cheating, had written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) April 6, accusing several high-profile Trinamool Congress and Congress leaders, including Ghosh, of complicity in the chit fund scam.

Ghosh also denied allegations that he coerced Sen to sell one of the media houses at a throwaway price.

“At that time (2009), I was neither a parliamentarian nor a member of the Trinamool. Being a mere journalist did I have the power to intimidate a powerful businessman?” Ghosh contended.

Sen has accused Ghosh of blackmailing him and barging into his office with miscreants and extracting a sale deed for a media house which Sen owned.

The collapse of the group has already resulted in four agents and depositors committing suicide in West Bengal, while its offices have been attacked and ransacked, with the ruling Trinamool Congress in a spot over allegations of links of its leaders – including MPs and a minister – with the group.

The under-fire Ghosh, against whom his employees have filed police complaints alleging financial irregularities, has already written to party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee offering to quit as MP.

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