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CBI grills former minister in chit fund scam case

Agartala, April 25: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday questioned a former Left Front minister in Tripura in connection with the Kolkata-based Rose Valley chit fund scam case.
The CBI officials will question another senior former Left Front minister on Thursday on the same issue.
“The two CBI officials interrogated former Social Affairs and Social Education Minister Bijita Nath at the MLA Hostel here for about two hours. As the CBI is collecting facts from various states as part of their probe into the Kolkata-based Rose Valley chit fund scam, they also talked to Nath,” the former minister’s lawyer Haribal Debnath told the media.
After the questioning, Nath told the media the officials recorded her statements which she shared with the investigating agency in June last year.
The CBI had earlier told Tripura Assembly Speaker Rebati Mohan Das about their intention to interrogate former Left Front ministers Badal Chowdhury and Bijita Nath.
Chowdhury, a former Finance, Health and PWD Minister, and Nath separately told IANS that they are ready to share any information in connection with cases related to the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
Both the former ministers, currently CPI-M legislators, said that they would cooperate with the CBI officials to probe the chit fund related cases.
The CBI in June 2017 questioned Nath and CPI-M central committee member Gautam Das in connection with the cases of the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
CPI-M central committee member and party’s state secretary Bijan Dhar said it was widely known that the CBI has been used by the ruling parties at the Centre.
“No CPI-M leader and former Left Front ministers were involved with any chit fund organisations,” Dhar told the media adding that “if CBI wants any information from the party leaders they would share, there is no problem in it”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) separately charged the previous Left Front government with promoting illegal chit fund organisations and unauthorised Non-Banking Financial Organisations (NBFCs) in Tripura.
The erstwhile Left Front government in Tripura had enacted a law in 2000 to deal with the illegal NBFCs and chit fund organisations and since 2016 began confiscating all movable and immovable properties of the Rose Valley chit fund organisation in the state.
The chit fund organisation — Rose Valley — is now under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI, and its sole proprietor and Chairman Gautam Kundu was arrested in Kolkata in 2015.
The Tripura High Court had in 2015 asked the state government to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe unlawful NBFCs and chit fund organisations.
In May 2013, the earlier Left government had referred 37 cases related to chit fund companies and NBFCs to the CBI. The central probe agency, however, took up only five cases. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita