The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the premier Union government investigation agency, has arrested two Ministers and one MLA in the Narada bribery case. Besides these leaders, former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee was also arrested by the investigation agency. However, the arrest of the most prominent Muslim face of TMC and its other influential leaders has left Mamata Banerjee rattled.
Upon hearing the news of the arrest, Mamata Banerjee and other TMC leaders rushed to the CBI office. The arrest of these corrupt leaders has hurt Mamata Banerjee badly because these leaders allegedly took care of the party’s finances through various legal and illegal activities.
On Sunday, CBI received consent from West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to prosecute TMC leaders Sovan Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Subrata Mukherjee in the Narada sting tape case.
All of the aforementioned leaders were ministers during the time of the alleged commission of the crime that came to light in the purported tapes. Three of these leaders were ministers in Mamata’s West Bengal cabinet at the time, while Madan Mitra was the Sports and Transport Minister between 2011 and 2015.
Just to jog the memory of the readers a bit, the sting tapes were made public before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, and were claimed to have been shot in 2014. The footage of these sting operations showed 12 TMC leaders and ministers accepting bribes. Some fictitious companies were set up to facilitate monetary transactions to the TMC leaders to gain government favour.
Among the leaders caught on camera were Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee, Madan Mitra and Firhad Hakim. Thereafter, the Calcutta HC ordered a preliminary probe by the CBI in March of 2017. Last year, TMC MP Aparupa Poddar submitted documents to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the Narada Sting Tapes scam in which she was also one of the accused.
The last 10 years of Mamata Banerjee were tainted with many high-profile scams with money worth millions of dollars involved and in a few like Saradha, even the name of TMC supremo was involved.
In 2014, news reports were claiming that the promoter of the Saradha chit fund, Sudipto Sen, purchased one of Mamata Banerjee’s paintings for Rs. 1.8 crore. The Times of India had quoted its CBI sources saying, “Though Sen had then denied having bought any of Mamata’s paintings, the I-T returns filed by the Trinamool Congress show that his group indeed acquired one.”
According to a rediff.com report, Saradha’s annual collections went up from Rs 15 million at inception to Rs 10.08 billion in 2011-12 and Rs 8.5 billion in 2012-13, when Banerjee was chief minister of West Bengal. The report of rediff.com further states that in 2011-12, the Saradha group spent millions of rupees sponsoring cycles, motorcycles, ambulances etc that the then West Bengal CM distributed among the people in Jangalmahal and other backward areas of the state.
No one can deny that the menace of Ponzi schemes group and syndicate raj flourished under the Mamata government. It also explains why she is so rattled with the CBI investigation in the Narada Sting Tape case, in which some of her most popular party faces are involved. Mamata Banerjee’s ministers and leaders pulled off multiple scams worth millions and now it is time for payback.