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Saradha scam accused Kunal Ghosh stable after suicide bid in jail, Mamata orders probe

Days after issuing a warning that he will end his life if the CBI did not take proper action against ‘those involved’ in the Saradha scam, suspended Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh, who is a prime accused in the case, allegedly attempted suicide inside his prison cell early Friday.

Ghosh is lodged in the Presidency Jail. He had threatened to commit suicide when he was produced in court three days ago. He is behind bars since November 2013.

Ghosh is said to have consumed an overdose of sleeping pills in the wee hours after which he fell ill and was rushed to the SSKM hospital.
West Bengal Prison Minister HA Safi told a news agency: “Kunal Ghosh has access to 2-3 pills as his regular prescription. He said he took pills at 2:30am.”

“At 2:33am he went walking to SSKM, not in a stretcher,” Safi said.

Ghosh was admitted to the Critical Care Unit of SSKM Hospital. He is now out of danger.

The police say Mr. Ghosh took over 50 sleeping pills and then informed jail officials at around 2 am late on Thursday night that he had taken them. His stomach has reportedly been washed and he is out of danger.

Mr. Ghosh was the chief of the Saradha Group’s media operations.

On Monday, he had threatened in court that he will take his own life if the “real culprits” behind the scam are not arrested.

“The investigation is being influenced. It is not acceptable that I will rot in jail while those involved roam free. I am giving three days; if action is not taken I will commit suicide,” Mr. Ghosh had said.

Ghosh’s suicide attempt raises uncomfortable questions on the security arrangements inside the jail. How he got hold of a large quantity of sleeping pills would be an area of probe even as reports suggested that Ghosh may have collected them over a period of time.

Making a statement in the state Assembly, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee would head the committee which would probe the incident.

Pending the completion of the enquiry, the superintendent of Presidency Correctional Home, jail doctor and on duty staff would remain suspended, she said.

Banerjee said Ghosh’s condition is absolutely stable and he is being examined every hour by the doctors attending on him.

“Why should (the) doctor give him 15 sleeping pills ? Two or three sleeping pills could have been given to him … Perhaps he did not take as many pills as reported. Doctors also said it could not be that he has taken so many pills,” she said.

Mamata said Ghosh was chargesheeted in the scam but some people were indulging in politics on this incident. Those who cheated the society the most were being painted as great, she added.

Earlier, Ghosh had said in a open court: “Investigation is being influenced. It is not acceptable that I will rot in jail while those involved will roam freely. I am giving three days’ time, if action is not taken I will commit suicide.”

A journalist by profession, Ghosh was the former CEO of Saradha Group firm Bengal Media Ltd. He had had during earlier court hearings accused some top Trinamool Congress leaders of having benefited from the scam and claimed that the CBI had not acted on the files of Bengal Media that were shown to him or against those he had named.

Ghosh had also put the Kolkata Police commissioner in the dock and alleged that he had stood by Saradha Group CEO and main accused Sudipta Sen.

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