Let me highlight the eleven most prominent moot points of the current imbroglio in West Bengal, its Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and the Saradha scam in which lakhs of innocent people lost their hard earned money in a chit fund get rich scheme.
1. One of the biggest frauds on the poor and middle class people of Bengal and surrounding states was done by Saradha Chit Fund scam which lured lakhs of investors to deposit money in its glossy schemes. An official estimate is about Rs. 1200 crore through its chit funds, but some calculations put that the figure closer to Rs. 4000 crore.
2. It is alleged that Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress had close links with Sudipta Sen, the Chairman of the chit fund group.Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh headed Saradha’s media division. Another Trinamool MP, Shatabdi Roy, features in Saradha’s promotional material. It is claimed that Mamata Banerjee had inaugurated two Saradha offices.
3. Group collapsed in 2013, with almost 80% depositors losing their moneys. PIL was filed in Guwahati and Kolkata HC on 22 April 2013 and CBI investigations started. On 24th April, 2013, Mamata Banerjee even announced a controversial 500 Cr relief fund for low income depositors in Saradha group.
4. As per SC directive case handed over to CBI. According to various newspaper reports CBI claims Ms Nalini Chidambaram was hired by Sudipta Sen, now in jail, for approx. fee of 1 Cr. This was when Mr. Chidamabaram was finance minister under UPA.
5. The famous Rajeev Kumar, sitting on dharna with MamataDidiheaded a SIT probe connected to Saradha and Rose valley ponzi scams before the case was transferred to the CBI in 2014 on Supreme Court’s orders. He has been under fire from the CBI over missing documents linked to the investigations. After media reports that Mr Kumar was “absconding” and he was facing arrest by the CBI, the Kolkata police said they will take action over the “defamation” by media houses.
6. CBI went to Kolkata to investigate Rajeev Kumar as he did not appear in CBI inspite of repeated notices. Note that Mamata had banned CBI from entering Bengal just a few weeks back, followed by Chandrababu Naidu whose own MP was under investigation for criminal default on bank loans worth 5700 Cr. Thus, both the state governments were basically trying to save their members/ supporters against cases of financial irregularities and criminal conspiracies.
7. The arrest of CBI officers by Kolkata police couldn’t have been a sudden decision but had support of Mamata. How can a serving officer sit on Dharna against a government agency? The whole drama was to create a story of victimhood since Mamata is losing support and has got nervous. Narendra Modi’s rally was the tipping point for her.
8. It shows a deep seated insecurity and intolerance to constitutional machinery, a trait she probably carries since her fight against Communist government as a Congress leader. It is confirmed by her intolerance to any opposition. Her party eliminated Communist opposition using their own violent methods. She tried same violence against BJP volunteers but couldn’t stop their march. She got people arrested even for Facebook posts, and put up a case against even Prof Rakesh Sinha, by no means an irresponsible person. She tried suffocating people’s voice with ban on BJP rallies, finally ending with disallowing landing of Yogi Adityanath’s helicopter.
9. Aim of this dharna and similar madcap actions since yesterday including creating chaos on the streets is to unleash lawlessness giving an option to Central government to dissolve the government so she can go back to people as a victim and re-win their confidence.
10. Opposition rallying behind Mamata are the same who lauded investigations by SIT and CBI against Shri Narendra Modi who went through 8-10 hours of investigations in their office. He could have created a ruckus he did not. These are the same people who clapped in glee when Amit Shah was arrested. BJP was in power, it could have created a ruckus; it did not. These people were quiet when Teesta Setalvad was accused of tutoring witnesses and creating false affidavits by her own co-worker. Many of them are facing similar cases of corruption. People may recall that BSP and SP were on the same side in support of UPA thought they were against each other in UP for reasons one can only guess. This motley group is not worried about poor people being cheated of 1000s of crores but about its survival.
11. Whatever the provocation, including the fuzzy excuse of “why now”, fact remains that no CM taking oath on constitution should create an atmosphere of distrust about the institutions. A Kejriwal of a semi-state of Delhi is manageable. And he doesn’t even have law and order machinery under him. But, for a large state, to use police for political purposes is highly dangerous. Imagine this leadership in Delhi running amok with various agencies its command. Does Mamata in all this filibuster mean to say there was no scam? I hope not.
It is high time the Supreme Court pulls up all the parties involved in this sorry saga and bring back some order to this dangerous drama.
(Ratan Sharda is a free lance columnist, author and editor. He also translates books in Hindi and English. He has written ‘Secrets of RSS’ which is in second edition and biography of Prof. Rajendra Singh in Hindi. His latest book is The Sangh & Swaraj – Role of RSS in Independence Struggle, last most talked about book is – RSS 360 degree.
He has done his PhD on RSS – Understanding RSS through its Resolutions – focus on North East, Jammu Kashmir and Punjab, translated two key books of Guruji – his biography and Guruji – Vision & Mission written by senior RSS thinker – Shri Ranga Hari.
He has also mentored many new writers and is currently editing 12 books. He is also a well-known personality of TV debates)