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Political angle blips on CBI radar

New Delhi, May 9: The CBI today said it would probe whether politicians had aided the cash-collection operations of the Saradha Group

“We will probe all possible angles, including the political nexus. Special teams will be formed soon to get to the bottom of the scandal and punish those behind it,” CBI director Ranjit Sinha told The Telegraph today.

Asked if he expected co-operation from Bengal police and other state investigating agencies, Sinha said: “This is the Supreme Court’s order and we expect co-operation.”

Told that the central Enforcement Directorate had filed a petition in Calcutta High Court alleging non-cooperation by the special investigation team probing the Saradha scam, Sinha said: “I have also heard about it. But we know how to extract all information from state agencies, be it in Bengal or in Odisha.”

The CBI will form three teams led by joint director-level officers to probe the Saradha scam in the two states. The teams that will investigate the default scandal in Bengal will have officers from the economic offences wing of the CBI in Calcutta and officers who had probed the 2G scam. The CBI director will choose the team members, sources said.

The sources said the CBI would seek the custody of those arrested in the case, including Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen and Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh.

“We first need to know the business and personal transactions of Sen and whether there was any nexus with politicians. We will also examine Sen’s close associates and the group’s investment schemes,” a senior CBI officer said.

“We will soon request Bengal police to hand over the case file, including the FIRs registered by them and the seizure lists,” he added.

The CBI will work in close co-ordination with the ED to find the Saradha money trail, the sources said.

Senior CBI officers led by director Sinha held a meeting this evening to discuss how to go about the probe.

“Members of the CBI’s economic offences wing in Calcutta have already been told to collect all case-related papers and documents from the state police,” the CBI officer said.

The CBI’s legal team is examining the Supreme Court order to decide the course of action.

Another senior CBI officer wondered why Bengal police rushed to a bank in Salt Lake at midnight last month to break open the locker of Piyali, Sen’s second wife.

“This raises some valid suspicions. Why did they not keep the ED in the loop? It seems someone somewhere is trying to hide something,” he said.