Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned West Bengal Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee in connection with the I-Core chit fund fraud in September. Chatterjee has been informed of the situation by a notice. This is not the first time the federal authorities, such as the CBI and the ED, have sent letters to Partha Chatterjee, but he has always dodged investigation, claiming his involvement in elections and other political activities. However, this time around CBI caught hold of the TMC minister at his office and is recording a statement on the chitfund case.
The minister, among Trinamool-appointed observers for the Bhowanipore Assemby by-elections, had reasoned that he was busy with poll-related work. On Monday Chatterjee was at his departmental office.
CBI is interested in questioning Chatterjee regarding his ties with Icore, a deposit mobilising company which had duped investors by promising high returns on investments
According to the CBI, Chatterjee had attended a number of programmes organised by the company and heaped praises on the late owner Anukul Maity, who died in CBI custody in Bhubaneswar last November.
The CBI team’s interrogation of Chatterjee is bound to further raise the heat in the already charged bypoll, crucial for Mamata to return to the Assembly and continue as chief minister for the third term.
While the case is old, the timing of the interrogation is also likely to provoke the Trinamul into accusing the BJP of unleashing central probe agencies to coerce rival political leaders.
The CBI had earlier arrested two ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra and former Trinamul leader and ex-Mayor of Calcutta Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the Narada bribery case. Mamata’s nephew and Trinamul’s all India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi last week in connection with a coal mining scam.
Mamata has dismissed all the charges against her party leaders and ministers.
The CBI is yet to issue any statement on the interrogation.