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Mithun fields ED posers in Mumbai

Calcutta, July 24: Actor-turned-Trinamul MP Mithun Chakraborty was today questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in Mumbai in connection with the Saradha scam.

According to sources, Chakraborty, who was summoned by the central agency last month, told the ED officers that he was a paid employee of the company and was yet to get Rs 24 lakh as part of a contract.

Chakraborty’s name cropped up in the case after ED officials found “evidence” to suggest that Rs 2 crore had been transferred from the company’s account to the actor’s.

Although allegations had been made that Chakraborty was the “brand ambassador” of the group, the ED had failed to produce documents supporting it.

“Today, he categorically denied being the brand ambassador of the company. He submitted a letter that mentions his appointment as the chief adviser of Channel 10, one of the media houses owned by the Saradha Group,” an ED officer in Mumbai said.

ED officials, according to sources, have found that Chakraborty had signed the contract against an annual fee of Rs 2 crore. The Trinamul MP, however, told the officials today that he did not renew the contract after 2011 as “earlier dues were not cleared”, the sources added.

Chakraborty is said to have told the officials that he was never involved in any financial transaction of the company, either by endorsing a product or participating in any programme hosted by the group.

“He said even the post of the chief adviser in the news channel was ornamental. He did not do anything except for hosting a specific chat show for the channel,” the ED officer said.

Chakraborty, sources said, furnished documents supporting most of his claims.

“Apart from the appointment letter, he submitted his bank documents. He would submit his income-tax returns soon,” the officer added.

Chakraborty was summoned by the ED last month but had cited his shooting schedule abroad for the delay in appearing before the central agency.

“Prima facie, we are satisfied with whatever explanation he gave. We will examine all the documents he has submitted and then come to a conclusion,” a senior official attached with the Mumbai wing of ED said.