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Rediff.com  » Business » Jailed TMC MP: 'I will spill the beans and put up a brave fight'

Jailed TMC MP: 'I will spill the beans and put up a brave fight'

November 25, 2013 16:35 IST

Jailed TMC MP: 'I will spill the beans and put up a brave fight'

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Indrani Roy

'I am being framed to protect the TMC's vested interests... No one can silence me by putting me behind bars,' suspended Trinamool Congress member of Parliament Kunal Ghosh tells Rediff.com's Indrani Roy in an exclusive interview.

Suspended Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament Kunal Ghosh was arrested on Saturday, November 23, for his alleged involvement in the Saradha scam and for being a party to Saradha group CEO Sudipta Sen's misdeeds that reportedly caused a loss amounting to a whopping Rs 170 billion to an estimated 400,000 investors spread across 19 districts of West Bengal.

Read: What the Saradha scam is about.

Ghosh, a journalist-turned member of the Rajya Sabha, dropped a bombshell on Friday by dragging Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's name directly into the Saradha fiasco.

On Saturday, Ghosh posted on Facebook that 12 TMC leaders, including Banerjee and 11 others, could help the police with their probe into the Saradha scam.

An emotional Ghosh spoke to Rediff.com's Indrani Roy over the telephone from an undisclosed location late on Friday evening.

Do you actually know where Sudipta Sen has kept the money?

How will I? I was only an employee of the group's media wings.

I did not have any authority to sign cheques or to transfer funds.

Also, if the total Saradha fraud is estimated to be at Rs 17,000 crore (Rs 170 billion), the group's media units could have only utilised Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion).

What happened to the rest of the money?

It is rumoured that as CEO you used to earn a salary of Rs 17 lakhs, Rs 18 lakhs (Rs 1.7 million, Rs 1.8 million) a month. Is it true?

I don't want to discuss my salary at this moment.

But tell me, is it a crime to do a high-paying job?

There are many people whose pay packets are fatter than this.

But are they getting arrested?

As the CEO of Saradha's media wing, didn't you smell anything fishy ever?

No.

But when funds became scarce, I realised that there was some problem somewhere.

It was I who had arranged for some emergency finance to keep the media houses running.

How is that possible?

I am an ordinary individual.

I was happy with the assignment that I got as the CEO.

It was not my duty to probe the source of money that funded my organisation.

Also, why am I being pulled up for being ignorant of (Sudipta) Sen's ill-gotten income?

Surajit Kar Purakayastha, who is now the commissioner of police in Bengal, had once attended a Saradha group programme where he had lauded Sen for his entrepreneurial acumen.

Purakayastha's honesty is part of Kolkata police folklore. Therefore, it is obvious even he had no idea then that Sen was a fraudster.

Please click Next to read more...


Image: Kunal Ghosh arrives at the Bidhannagar South police station in Kolkata on Friday, November 22, 2013.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

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'No one can silence me by putting me behind bars'

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Indrani Roy

Though you fear arrest, you said you won't appeal for anticipatory bail...

No, never! Why should I?

People who opt for anticipatory bail are guilty.

I am not.

No one can silence me by putting me behind bars.

I will spill the beans and put up a brave fight.

Do you think the Trinamool Congress is trying to protect anyone?

Bidhan Nagar police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is very close to Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy.

I am certain the police are following the instructions of the Trinamool Congress.

Why do you think so?

It is a simple equation.

The police and the detectives started chasing me only after I voiced my protest against the TMC leadership.

While attending a blood donation camp in September I had categorically explained why it was essential for the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to take up the Saradha case. That statement made me the sworn enemy of one and all in the Trinamool Congress.

The TMC suspended you immediately after that, right?

When did the TMC suspend me?

Arbitrariness is the other name for Trinamool Congress.

I am yet to get either the so-called show-cause notice or the letter of suspension.

However, the important names in the TMC kept saying that I had been suspended.

It is bizarre!

A letter that Sen wrote to the CBI before his disappearance mentioned you...

First, let me set the record straight.

That letter to the CBI was littered with grammatical and syntactical errors and it was not written by (Sudipta) Sen.

He was forced to dash it off under duress.

Also, the whole world knows that Mukul Roy's emissary, retired IPS officer Rajat Mazumder, was the last person who met Sen before his disappearance from Kolkata.

What was he doing?

Will anybody try to find that out?

Who, according to you, wrote that letter?

I think Rajat Mazumder had chalked the letter under (Mukul) Roy's instructions.

Is it true that you are in possession of explosive videos and documents that could implicate the TMC leadership in the Saradha scam?

I can't divulge such facts to you at the moment.

But let me tell you, I know a lot of uncomfortable details which is why imprisoning me has become a major necessity.

Please click Next to read more...


Image: Kunal Ghosh, far left, at the Bidhannagar South police station on Friday, November 22, 2013.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

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'Maybe Mamata fears a CBI probe will open up uncomfortable situations'

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Indrani Roy

It is heard that you went to the US, Las Vegas to be precise, to take part in a Saradha-sponsored event...

If you are talking about the Las Vegas trip, ask Mazumder, please.

It was he who went to take part in the Saradha event.

I did not visit the US in the last five years.

I am shocked to see those guilty are at large and only those who are innocent are being questioned.

It is so strange!

A few weeks ago, you met Finance Minister P Chidambaram. Why?

I had some urgent and personal work.

(Ghosh's meeting with Chidambaram gave rise to speculation in political circles in New Delhi and in Bengal that he had gone to meet the finance minister to seek his protection).

You also said Sen and Mamata Banerjee shared close ties...

Of course. Years back, when the Saradha group was just launching its media companies, a meeting took place between the West Bengal chief minister and (Sudipta) Sen.

Didi, apni CM theke PM hoben, ami media house ke seibhabei sajachchhi. (Didi, I am setting up my media houses in a way that it helps you become the PM). This is what (Sudipta) Sen had told Mamata.

But don't you feel any moral responsibility for the scam?

I feel sorry for all those who lost their money in the Saradha fiasco.

But I am not responsible for anything.

I was just an employee.

An unfortunate set of events got me entangled in the dirty Saradha web.

And now I am being framed to protect the TMC's vested interests.

Why do you think Mamata Banerjee is not handing over the case to the CBI?

She does not want the lid covering the can of worms to go off.

Maybe she fears that a CBI probe would bring to the fore some really uncomfortable situations.


Image: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty

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