Has Anandabazaar Patrika opened a can of worms for Mamata Banerjee?

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
India's leading Bangla daily 'Ananda Bazar Patrika' has blown the lid off the links between Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh and West Bengal's Trinamool Congress which is led by Mamta Banerjee. This sensational revelation has opened a can of worms for the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal.

[Read: What is Saradha Scam?]

The Bengali daily has alleged that the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had funded anti-India radical group Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh. And her party received funds from the outfit during 2011 assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

TMC links with Bangladeshi radical groups

The Anand Bazar Patrika report "Before 2011, the Jamaat helped Trinamool with huge funds secretly transferred across the border. Imran played a key role in it.

"Later when the Jamaat faced government's ire during its opposition to war crimes trials, it received funds from Trinamool which had come to power in 2011 and many of whose leaders were ministers in the Manmohan Singh government," the Ananda Bazar Patrika report said, quoting extensively from a detailed report it claims was given to India by Bangladesh intelligence.

Who is Ahmed Hassan Imran?

Ahmed Hassan Imran is a Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal at present.

In 1975-76 he founded West Bengal Muslim Students Association.

In 1977, Imran co-founded the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh.

Imran became the president of the West Bengal unit of the organization and held the position till 1980.

Even after relinquishing the position, Imran remained the primary organizer and spokesperson of the organization till it was banned in 2001.

In 1981, he started publishing Kalom as the monthly Bengali mouthpiece of SIMI.

Kalom continued to be published as a monthly till 1994 and which also helped SIMI to be spread throughout West Bengal during that time.

How did the money reach Islamists?

The money from Saradha group was stuffed into bags, smuggled into Bangladesh and the BSF's activity was allegedly manned by TMC MP Ahmed Hassan Imran.

As per an New Indian Express report, "The CBI and ED learnt that the funds collected from the public, through Saradha's chit fund schemes, were centrally deposited at the group's offices in Salt Lake. After being accounted for, hundreds of crores were transported to various centres close to the Indo-Bangladesh border."

Saradha group, with the help of a Kolkata based money exchanger, had allegedly sent illegal money to Bangladesh.

The report further said, "The cash was put in huge bags and taken by ambulances belonging to the Saradha group. The Indian currency was then secretly converted to Bangladeshi Taka and European currencies at a "Foreign Currency Convertor Centre", belonging to a man from Kolkata."

How did TMC benefit from Saradha Scam?

Reports claim that the money with which Trinamool leaders funded Jamaat after 2011 came from Saradha coffers. The Saradha money was utilised by Jamaat to trigger and fund violence against Bangladesh government.

Reports also suggest that West Bengal chief Minter's links with the Saradha Group date back to 2010 when she was the Railway Minister. Mamata's connection with Saradha Group helped the party receive money for campaigning and winning the 2011 Vidhan Sabha elections and also the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

If the reports are to believed then this seems to be a case of quid pro quo where TMC funded these radical groups and these groups returned the favour when the party needed money for campaigning in the 2011 and 2014 elections.

BJP's attack on Mamata Banerjee

"Bangladesh government and intelligence agencies have been raising Imran's connection with the Jamaat. West Bengal CM's have always maintained very good relations with Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina. But, TMC supremo stopped such age old traditions between the two governments just to appease Jamaat.

Mamata Banerjee didn't even congratulate Hasina when she was re-elected as PM of Bangladesh as this gesture would not have gone down well with Jamaat," West Bengal BJP's president Rahul Sinha told Niticentral.

Ever since Saradha scam expose, Mamata, who is a very flamboyant leader, has maintained her silence on the entire issue. This has given a fodder to her rivals to target her.

"You (Mamata) are not protesting against duping of 17 lakh investors in the Saradha scam and coming down on the streets, because your own associates and stooges are involved. We need an answer to who took away the Saradha scam money.

"We are not afraid of anyone because our workers are not involved in any scam. Whether it's Saradha or anything else, we will do the work of arresting and putting the culprits behind bars," BJP president Amit Shah had said in a rally in central Kolkata.

"More than 2,000 farmers had lost their land in Nandigram and Singur and you had gone on fast protesting against that injustice. But in this Saradha scam more than 17 lakh people of Bengal have lost their deposits," Shah had said.

Shah had also alleged that Bangladeshi infiltration has gone up by five times in the Trinamool regime as Mamata Banerjee was only pursuing politics rather than developing the state.

If the entire scenario comes out to be true then it will certainly put a black mark over political parties and make it more certain that parties can even risk the national security for their gain and vested interests.

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