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‘Top politicians’ on CBI quiz radar

Sudipta Sen

New Delhi, July 28: The CBI is preparing a list of some “top politicians” from Bengal who could be among those to be questioned by the central agency next month in connection with the Saradha scam, sources said.

“We are preparing a list of people, including some top politicians from Bengal, to be questioned. The names of these politicians have surfaced during our preliminary probe. They are suspected to be involved in the scam,” a senior CBI officer said.

Sources in the central agency said police in Bengal were not extending the “necessary cooperation”, adding that the lawmakers were being influenced by a section of politicians.

“It seems senior police officers in Bengal, who were probing the scam earlier, were influenced by politicians. We have already told them to hand over crucial documents by July 31. If they fail to do so, we will have no option but to take legal action against them,” the officer said.

Terming the Saradha scandal “a very big scam”, CBI director Ranjit Sinha said the agency was waiting for the “crucial documents” from Bengal police.

“It’s a very big scam. We will swing into full action after July 31,” he told The Telegraph today.

CBI sources said they had already examined 60 witnesses as part of the Supreme Court-ordered probe.

“We have identified nearly 350 bank accounts in the name of different companies of the Saradha Group. Our thrust now is to find out the diversion of funds and the larger conspiracy,” a CBI officer said.

The CBI had last week served Bengal police an “ultimatum” to hand over all Saradha-related documents by July 31, or face legal action for suppression and destruction of evidence, which can lead to a jail term.

“We are working on some vital leads to trace the money the Saradha Group had collected,” the officer said.

The CBI, on the directive of the Supreme Court, recently began its probe in the scam in which it has registered three cases in Bengal and over 42 in Odisha.

Trinamul MP Kunal Ghosh and Saradha chief Sudipta Sen are among those named in the FIR.