The CBI on Friday arrested Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul in connection with the alleged Rose Valley chit fund scam. According to CBI sources, the Trinmool MP was grilled for over four hours. He was arrested after he failed to give satisfactory answers to several questions. The investigators have reportedly found concrete evidence about his financial connections with Rose Valley.
A fuming Trinmool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee described Paul’s arrest as political vendetta and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resignation and formation of a ‘national government’ in place of the present BJP-led NDA government.
“You may arrest all my MPs. If you arrest me, that will be the best. I don’t care. They (BJP government) knew we will protest today as the Prime Minister’s 50-day deadline (for scarcity of currency notes) ends today. That is why they made the arrest today itself,” Banerjee said during a press conference.
“He (Modi) failed to normalize the situation within 50 days. He failed to keep his promise. He should step down. Let any other BJP leader become the Prime Minister. Or else there should be a National Government. We will meet the President to talk about this,” Mamata said.
The actor-politician was reportedly, one of the directors of Rose Valley. He had made headlines in 2014 when he was caught on camera threatening CPI(M) workers to have their women raped if any of his party workers are attacked.
The West Bengal chief minister, however, said she had information that BJP minister Babul Supriyo and MP Rupa Ganguli, too, had taken favours from Rose Valley. “Are they corrupt as well?” she asked.
The CPI(M) and the Congress welcomed the arrest and said even more senior leaders of Trinamool were involved in the scam and should also be arrested.
The CBI probe into the chit fund scam in West Bengal was going slow in the last couple of years, which had prompted the Opposition to raise charges that Mamata Banerjee had formed a tacit understanding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Pal’s arrest comes after Mamata Banerjee joined the efforts to unite all Opposition parties against the Central government’s demonetization drive.
Earlier this week, the investigative agency had summoned Paul in connection with the case. Another TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, too, was asked to present himself before the CBI team on December 30.
The CBI has already filed a chargesheet against Rose Valley chairman Gautam Kundu and three other accused. The firm has been charged with defrauding depositors from across the country of Rs 17,000 crore, out of which Rs 450 crore was received by the ponzi firm from Odisha alone.
Several TMC members are facing charges in a number of alleged chit fund cases, including that of Saradha.