CBI to quiz 2 ex-Left Ministers in chit fund scam case

Agartala: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will interrogate two former Left Front ministers in Tripura in connection with a case of the Kolkata-based Rose Valley chit fund scam, an official said here on Tuesday.

“The CBI has informed the Tripura Assembly Speaker about their intention to interrogate former Left Front ministers Badal Chowdhury and Bijita Nath within this week,” the assembly official added.

Chowdhury, a former Finance and PWD Minister and Nath, former Minister of Social Welfare Department, separately told IANS that they have received CBI notices about the questioning in connection with cases related to the Rose Valley chit fund scam.

Both the former ministers, currently legislators, said that they would appear before the CBI officials to reply to their queries.

The CBI in June 2017 questioned Nath and Communist Party of India-Marxist (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 that it was widely known that the CBI has been used by the ruling parties at the Centre.

“No CPI-M leaders 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, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress 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.

BJP Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has also asked the central government to widen the CBI probe into all the chit fund related activities.