Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien on Saturday said he had informed the CBI that he would appear before the agency after the Parliament session ends on August 7 and asserted that he would not be intimidated.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned the Rajya Sabha MP to join investigation in the Saradha ponzi scheme case.
Officials said on Friday that the quizmaster-turned-politician may be questioned about some some financial transactions noticed by sleuths in the bank accounts of TMC mouthpiece ‘Jago Bangla’.
O’Brien is the publisher of the party’s official newspaper.
“Earlier, when Parliament was in session I was served a notice. I immediately wrote to the CBI stating that since Parliament was in session I would appear on a date after the session has concluded,” O’Brien said in a statement.
“However, a day before I was supposed to meet the CBI, they called and informed me that I am not required to meet them. I also sent them a letter reconfirming the same,” he said.
The CBI is investigating links of arrested Bengali film producer Shrikant Mohta to the promoters of Rose Valley, a company accused in the scam.
Mohta had allegedly cut a deal of Rs 25 crore with the promoters of Rose Valley and a portion of this money is suspected to have been diverted in ‘Jago Bangla’ account.
“Since February, I have not received any intimation from them. Now, during this Parliament session, I was served a notice asking me to appear before them on August 1. I have sent them a letter stating that I would meet them after this session is over on August 7,” O’Brien said.
“Let me also add that I will not be intimidated. In February, I had agreed to appear before the CBI after the session was over, but the CBI chose not to meet me. This time too I am ready to meet them,” he said.
The CBI may also question the TMC leader regarding the sale of several paintings of party chief Mamata Banerjee which were purchased by owners of several ponzi scam companies allegedly at a huge price, the officials said.
Several such paintings worth lakhs of rupees have been seized by the agency, they said.
O’Brien, in a tweet on Friday, had alleged that the CBI notice was sent as his party had opposed amendments to the Right to Information Act in Parliament.
The July 25 notice coincided with the TMC’s motion against the RTI (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha, he claimed.
The Supreme Court had ordered a probe into the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam and transferred the case to CBI in 2014.
Thousands of investors were left in the lurch by the scam and it led to the arrest of many leaders and ministers of the TMC. All of them are now out on bail.
Saradha group founder Sudipta Sen and his associate Debjani Mukherjee, arrested in 2013 from Kashmir, are in custody.