Politicians, academicians arrested over Saradha scam protest

Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, Nov 28 (IANS) Around two dozen academicians and political leaders were arrested Thursday after they staged a demonstration demanding interrogation of those named by arrested Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scandal.

The protest was staged at the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate, which is probing the scam.

The demonstrators, who also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Saradha muddle and return of money to the depositors who had invested in the company which went bust, alleged they were pushed and beaten up by police.

"Sunando Sanyal, a retired octogenarian professor, was pushed and he fell on to the ground. I was also pushed," said Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sujon Chakraborty, who also took part in the demonstration.

The protest was organised by the Chit Fund Sufferers Unity Forum (CFSUF), an organisation of agents and depositors of chit funds in the state.

A police officer, however, alleged that the demonstrators barged into the Commissionerate compound in a large group without permission.

Complaints have been lodged against them for damaging government property, attempting to trespass and unlawful gathering.

Among others arrested are Congress MLA and former bureaucrat Sukh Bilas Barma, former Maoist leader Asim Chatterjee and three women activists.

"Kunal Ghosh has been interrogated at the Bidhannagar Commissionerate 9-10 times. Kunal must have done some crime. But if having connection with Saradha is a crime, then along with him those named by him should also be probed," said Sunando Sanyal.

"Why will the inquiry not include (chief minister) Mamata Banerjee? There must be a CBI probe," said Sanyal.

Sanyal campaigned for years to end the rule of the erstwhile Left Front regime and bring Banerjee to power.

However, within a year of the Trinamool Congress taking over the reins of government, Sanyal expressed his displeasure over its functioning and turned against the new government.

Angry at the treatment meted out to the demonstrators, Left Front chairman Biman Bose announced that the combine would stage a demonstration at the busy Rani Rashmoni Road in central Kolkata Friday.

CPI-M central committee member Shaymal Chakraborty alleged that the government was disinclined to arrest thieves and robbers.

"Thieves and robbers are roaming freely, but those who went to the commissionerate seeking their arrests, have been taken behind bars. We will lodge an FIR against the behaviour of police," he said.

In a sensational video, recorded before his arrest Saturday for alleged involvement in the scandal, aired by local TV channel 24 Ghanta, Kunal Ghosh had named several high-profile political leaders and police officers among others who "could help in revealing the truth" behind the biggest financial scam to hit West Bengal.

Ghosh, currently under police custody after being accused of conspiring with Saradha promoter Sudipta Sen, named current and former ministers, parliamentarians and retired government officials first in a Facebook post and then in the video grab.