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Saradha scam: Bengal Transport Min. Madan Mitra arrested by CBI

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Kolkata (Dec. 12, 2014): In a major blow to Trinamool Congress, West Bengal State Transport Minister Madan Mitra has been arrested by CBI in connection with Saradha chit fund scam.

Madan Mitra, a close loyalist of Mamata Banerjee was called by CBI for questioning in this case on the morning. He was later formally arrested by the investigative agency. Already two other top TMC leader Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose are in custody in connection with this case. Madan Mitra's arrest will only increase political pressure on TMC and its leader Mamata Banerjee. BJP, which is vying to be the principle opposition party in the state has already traded their guns against TMC in this case. BJP President Amit Shah has accused of links between Saradha scam and Burdwan blast case. 

Madan Mitra was earlier supposed to be interrogated by CBI but entire process was delayed as he was ill and admitted to hospital. Madan Mitra has always maintained that he is innocent and has no connection with the Saradha group. 

To a question about why he has been targeted by the opposition in the Saradha Scam, Mitra earlier said "Ask those who have targeted me." "I am in no way involved in the Saradha scam and not a single allegation against me is true," Mitra said when asked about allegations by opposition that he took benefits from Saradha Group Chairman Sudipto Sen.

The Kolkata-based Saradha Group's ponzi scheme had over 10,000 registered chit funds across the country and with an aggregate turnover of Rs.30, 000 crore per annum. The Saradha Group is said to have defrauded thousands of investors, including poor people, in West Bengal, leading to the arrest of its owner Sudipta Sen.

The industry is governed by Chit Fund Act 40/1982 and is regulated by state governments with their own set of rules. Reserve Bank of India is the principal regulator and at the state level Registrar of Chits/The Inspector General of Registration oversees these regulations. 

Reacting to the arrest, CPIM leader of the Assembly Suryakanta Mishra has demanded that WB CM Mamata Banerjee should be interrogated. BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said that Mamata Banerjee should take moral responsibility and resign from her post. On the other hand, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has branded the arrest of Madan Mitra as 'illegal' and 'unconstitutional'. According to her, one can't be giuilty by association. Her reasoning is that as public servants leaders attend lot of functions and it is hard to do background checks on each of them. Mamata Banerjee said that once they realised Saradha was a fraud company, no one kept any association with it.

Giving example of Sahara group, she alleged that people who are running the country has association with it, but no one is questioning them. She said that law and order is a state subject and centre is interfering on it. In the press conference, Mamata Banerjee said that she has always maintained political courtesy and have never arrested any CPIM leader. She accused that there are Left leaders who helped Sudipto Sen to start his business. But none of them are being hauled up by the police.