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CBI focus on Saradha VIPs

New Delhi, Aug. 14: CBI director Ranjit Sinha today said that “nobody, however high” would be spared in the Saradha case, capping a day on which the agency searched 30 premises and the Enforcement Directorate called a Bengal minister to collect information.

“Nobody, however high, will be spared as we have to report to the Supreme Court. We are accountable to the court, no less,” Sinha told The Telegraph.

He added that the search operations carried out by his team today were absolutely necessary for the investigations.

In Calcutta, the CBI searched as many as 22 premises, including those of former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar and East Bengal club official Debabrata Sarkar.

CBI sources claimed that the agency had started closing in on some prominent politicians for their alleged involvement in the inter-state deposit mobilisation scandal.

The sources added that the thrust of the probe was to unravel the larger conspiracy involving influential persons.

“We are keeping a close watch on some politicians from Bengal who knew about the Saradha Group’s fund collection schemes and had helped Sudipta Sen (the arrested Saradha chief) to stash money. Preliminary probe has revealed that some of these politicians and other influential people had business dealings with Sen,” an officer said.

“Investigations have revealed that one of the persons (whose premises were searched today) was very close to a senior politician in Bengal. The person is said to be a conduit between the Saradha Group and some politicians. Our officers are recording his statement,” the officer said.

CBI sources said the agency had already sent notices to 500 people asking them to be available to have their statements recorded.

The 500 include Saradha employees and agents who collected money in Bengal, Odisha and Assam. “After examining these people, we will send notices to the politicians,” an officer said.

The CBI sources said they were examining the call details of several politicians.

Minister called

The Enforcement Directorate has called Bengal textiles minister Shyamapada Mukherjee — the first minister in the Mamata Banerjee government to be summoned for questioning in the Saradha case.

“I received a fax message from the ED this evening asking me to meet them on August 18 at their Salt Lake office in connection with Saradha. I will go and am ready to cooperate,” Mukherjee said tonight.

Mukherjee said that he was a co-owner of a cement company in Bankura and had sold the factory to Sen in 2009. “We sold the factory to Sudipta Sen for Rs 2.71 crore. I didn’t even know him at that time. The ED has asked me to submit the tax returns of that company for three years: 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. I will submit the IT returns if I can find the papers,” Mukherjee said.