Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) to launch an inquiry into Saradha Scam allegations that funds could have been channelized to Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and that a Trinamool Congress MP might have had some role in the process.
Investigation into the multi-crore Saradha scam has taken a new dimension with the NIA starting the inquiry into the allegations, reports The Times of India which branded Jamaat as ‘Islamic terror outfit’.
The inquiry comes within days of Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali conveying his concerns to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on September 19, only a day before the Bangladesh-India Foreign Minister-level talks in New Delhi, said the report.
Within three days of Ali meeting Doval, a three-member NIA team had reached Kolkata to probe the matter.
According to sources, the NIA officers had initial discussions with their CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and Enforcement Directorate counterparts.
“They came to Kolkata to gather initial information about Saradha money trail that might have crossed to Bangladesh,” the report quoted a CBI officer investigating the Saradha scam as saying.
The NIA officers, it is learnt, had collected several editions of a publication the MP edits. NIA also spoke to several prominent Muslim organizations. "They’re trying to gauge the fallout. We’re providing them with all the material related to the investigation," an ED (Enforcement Directorate) officer quoted as saying.
The NIA team, sources said, will come to Kolkata again in November.
With the NIA stepping in, it is all the more clear that the Centre is keen to get to the root of Saradha cash trail. NIA - unlike CBI and ED - can investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India and relations with foreign states.
The MP has admitted that these aspects were part of the ED questionnaire to him on September 9. He was questioned for over seven hours.
Speaking to TOI, the MP said, “They (ED officials) suddenly asked me whether I sent money to Jamaat. This is absurd. It’s a political propaganda to malign me and my party. I’ve filed a defamation suit of Rs 50 crore against a journalist for publishing such unsubstantiated articles on me.”
The inquiry comes within days of Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali conveying his concerns to NSA Ajit Doval. Three days later, an NIA team arrived in Kolkata to probe the matter.
Saradha boss Sudipta Sen has reportedly corroborated what his chauffeur and co-accused Arvind Singh Chauhan had said about the Nizam Palace meeting. CBI has Sen's written statement that he did meet an influential Trinamool Congress leader there to ‘discuss the problems that Saradha Group was facing’, says another report of The Times of India.
A week ago, Chauhan had told reporters that he had seen Sen met Trinamool MP Mukul Roy at Nizam Palace on April 5, 2013 - three days before the Saradha boss fled Kolkata.
According to sources, the date and time of the meeting that Sen mentioned in his recent statement match the claim made by Chauhan.
Indian NIA to launch probe into Saradha Scam