The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, on Monday sent a notice to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) seeking income and expense details from the party during 2010-14, which includes donations, advertisements, sale of party mouthpiece ‘Jaago Bangla’ and “sale of paintings”.
According to media reports, the notice is sent to the TMC’s national general secretary Subrata Bakshi through a speed post, asking him to reply within seven days.
The development comes days after West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamamta Banerjee had expressed her strong displeasure over the CBI’s phone call to TMC Bhavan here.
According to reports, the notice has been served under Section 91 (summons to produce document or other thing) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Reacting to this, Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the party would reply if it saw the notice.
“Every day we get thousands of letters and we reply to those which we find are worthy of a reply. If we come across such a notice and it deserves a reply we will do that,” Chatterjee said iterating the party`s stand that the CBI was working at the behest of the BJP which is ruling at the centre.
The notice comes days after the Trinamool got a phone call from the agency, prompting the party to cry foul.
“CBI has lost all credibility. It is acting at the behest of a political party before the civic elections. We announced a protest programme against the land bill on April 8. Shortly after that, CBI called up our office,” Chatterjee had said on April 2 the day it got the phone call.
The agency had earlier sent the notice to sidelined Trinamool leader Mukul Roy who was the general secretary of the party before his eventual removal from the post in February.
Roy, a Trinamool Rajya Sabha member, had reportedly asked the CBI to contact Bakshi over the issue as he was no more the general secretary.
On March 18, Bakshi wrote to Roy asking for documents and statements relating to the party`s communications with the state and central election panels and original copies of the party`s audited accounts among other documents.
Replying to Bakshi`s letter, Roy on April 3 gave details of the party`s audited accounts from 2005-2014. He also asked Bakshi to contact one “Shri Chakrabarty” who he said was handling all accounts-related matters of the party.
The CBI has so far questioned several Trinamool Congress leaders in connection with the Saradha chit-fund scam.
The Saradha scandal came to light in April 2013. The company closed shop across Bengal after being unable to pay back the depositors — mainly poor people who, lured by the promise of huge returns, parked their life’s savings with the firm.