Kolkata, April 24: Chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of the Saradha Group, Sudipta Sen, who was caught with two accomplices at Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, has sent a 18-page letter to the CBI mentioning names of several key politicians, officials and legal counsels who allegedly extracted monetary benefits from the company.
The chit fund organisation, which had expanded its business into various other fields including media, crumbled recently, robing thousands of people of their life savings and also throwing many out of job.
The letter written on April 6, which reached the CBI in Delhi while Sen remained at large, was forwarded by the agency to its office in Kolkata and was later referred to Bidhannagar police commissionerate. Bidhannagar police commissioner Rajeev Kumar reportedly received Sen's letter on April 19 and the letter could potentially expose the nexus between politicians and Bengal's chit fund industry.
The letter, reportedly been attested by Sen on each of its 18 pages, is believed to have brought into light his links with at least two Rajya Sabha members of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and a minister of the Assam government.
The letter allegedly revealed how Sen was "blackmailed" by the MPs and the minister for money. Sen's business had a strong base in Assam and his organisation also brought out an English daily called The Seven Sisters' Post in Guwahati. All the newspapers started or acquired by the Saradha Group have shut down in the last few months.
According to a news report, names of 22 people, who allegedly used Sen to make money, were attached to the letter. At least five senior political leaders are learnt to be among them, besides a dozen businessmen who have their own chit fund organisations in the state.
A TMC MP is the brand ambassador of the Saradha Group, although TMC leaders later refused to acknowledge the fact.
The letter allegedly reveals how Sen was "forced" to take over a loss-making motorcycle manufacturing unit near Singur by a business lobby close to the TMC government. It alleges that TMC MPs had promised that the government would not interfere in Sen's businesses as a return of the latter's favour.
Srinjoy Bose, TMC rajya Sabha MP and owner of Bengali daily Pratidin, said it was pointless to drag his party into the case and that he had only professional links with Channel 10, a news channel owned by the Saradha Group. He said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not seek any explanation on the issue.
CBI sources said that the letter also speaks about the origin and growth of Sen's chit fund business. It allegedly names a senior official of a Kolkata football club who promised to do the job for Sen by using a special connection he had with a central minister. The official reportedly took a huge fee to set up Sen's link with the minister.
The letter also mentions that the wife of a top UPA minister, who is a legal expert, took Rs 1 crore from Sen to draft the legal papers to take over a local news channel.
The letter also believed to reveal how Sen's own employees cheated him by leaking "confidential data" to rival firms. The letter also reportedly mentions a number of projects in which Sen's company had invested to win the government's favour. It mentions distributions of ambulances, motorbikes and bicycles, which the Banerjee government distributed in the Maoist-hit Jangalmahal area of the state after coming to power in May 2011.
Sen also reportedly said in the letter that he wants to commit suicide after being cheated and he could not live in a society where people call him a fraud.
The West Bengal chief minister has denied knowledge about the massive scam or the SEBI probe going on against Sen for three years. The mushrooming companies under the Saradha Group were never registered with the government for collecting deposits from the public. But Sen continued to evade action for several years during which his companies amassed massive wealth from various investment schemes.