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Opposition, educationists hit Kolkata streets over Saradha scam

By:  Tupaki Desk   |   29 Nov 2013 4:24 AM GMT
Academicians and political leaders Thursday stepped up the heat on West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress by holding demonstrations and taking to the streets of the state capital over the Saradha scam.

While educationists held demonstrations, the opposition Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) hit the streets demanding interrogation of those named by arrested Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh in connection with the scandal.

Around two dozen educationists and other activists, including three women, were arrested after they staged the protest at the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate, which is probing the scam.

The demonstrators, who also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Saradha muddle and return of money to the depositors who had invested in the company which went bust, alleged they were pushed and beaten up by police.

"Sunando Sanyal, a retired octogenarian professor, was pushed and he fell on to the ground. I was also pushed," said CPI-M leader Sujon Chakraborty, who also took part in the demonstration.

The protest was organised by the Chit Fund Sufferers Unity Forum (CFSUF), an organisation of agents and depositors of chit funds in the state.

A police officer, however, alleged that the demonstrators barged into the Commissionerate compound in a large group without permission.

Complaints have been lodged against them for damaging government property, attempting to trespass and unlawful gathering.

Among others arrested are Congress lawmaker and former bureaucrat Sukh Bilas Barma, former Maoist leader Asim Chatterjee and three women activists.

"Kunal Ghosh has been interrogated at the Bidhannagar Commissionerate 9-10 times. Kunal must have done some crime. But if having connection with Saradha is a crime, then along with him those named by him should also be probed," said Sunando Sanyal.

"Why will the inquiry not include (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee? There must be a CBI probe," said Sanyal.

Angry at the treatment meted out to the demonstrators, Left Front chairman Biman Bose announced that the combine would stage a demonstration at the busy Rani Rashmoni Road in central Kolkata Friday.

The Congress held a law violation programme near the city centre, with state party chief Pradip Bhattacharya urging party workers to launch a state-wide movement on the issue, by laying siege on police stations, and holding demonstrations and street corners. He also reiterated the demand for a CBI probe.

"The chief minister does not want a CBI probe. Where did the Rs.34,000 crore of the Sardha Group go?" said Bhattacharya.

In the assembly, members of the Congress and the Left Front attacked the Bidhannagar City police for refusing to take cognisance of the video grab in which Kunal Ghosh had named several high-profile political leaders and police officers among others who "could help in revealing the truth" behind the biggest financial scam to hit West Bengal.

The sensational video, recorded before his arrest Saturday for alleged involvement in the scandal, was aired by local TV channel 24 Ghanta.

Ghosh, currently under police custody after being accused of conspiring with Saradha promoter Sudipta Sen, named current and former ministers, parliamentarians and retired government officials first in a Facebook post and then in the video.