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Two TMC MPs publicly endorsed Rose Valley’s illegitimate deposit schemes: CBI

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-05-2017 Arkamoy Dutta Majumdar

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs (members of Parliament) Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Pal publicly endorsed the Rose Valley group, and helped it raise more deposits, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has said in its charge sheet filed with the court.

The two MPs said they supported the enterprise because it created jobs, but only to earn people’s confidence in its illegitimate deposit schemes, the charge sheet added .

“Bandyopadhyay had attended at least two business development meetings of (the) Rose Valley group in the year 2011... and again in the year 2012... while he was holding the post of Union minister of state for health and family welfare,” the CBI said in the charge sheet, parts of which have been reviewed by Mint. Bandyopadhyay held that post from July 2011 to September 2012.

In a public meeting held on 19 February 2012, Bandyopadhyay publicly said Rose Valley is a “good company” and that its chairman Gautam Kundu “has done what the government could not by creating jobs”, the federal investigating agency has said , citing a recorded speech.

The two MPs could not be contacted because they are currently in Bhubaneswar in the custody of CBI. They were arrested within the space of a week in December-January. The Trinamool Congress has been defending them by saying they are innocent and that the probe against them is politically-motivated.

Framing charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with cheating and criminal conspiracy, CBI has said Bandyopadhyay and Pal, being “leaders of the ruling party” in West Bengal, made such public statements only to help the Rose Valley group raise more public deposits.

The Rose Valley group raised around Rs17,000 crore in public deposits, claims the CBI. The Rose Valley group started defaulting on repayments in 2014. CBI and the Enforcement Directorate are investigating these companies under a May 2014 order of the Supreme Court.

Though they had “full and conscious knowledge” that the business of raising public deposits was illegitimate, Bandyopadhyay and Pal took a “stand” on the group, which “gave immense confidence to the agents of the Rose Valley group”. It helped the group to “allure” potential depositors who were led to believe that the group had the backing of the state government, CBI has said.

The Trinamool Congress came to power in the summer of 2011, ousting the Left Front.

Last week, CBI had said in a statement that the two Trinamool Congress MPs had been found to have “participated in and aided the illegal fund collection business” of the Rose Valley Group. They promoted the enterprise also by writing letters to regulators “favouring the company”. In return, the two MPs received “huge benefits in cash as well as in kind”, CBI said in its statement.

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