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ED sniffs conspiracy

Calcutta, May 22: The Enforcement Directorate is seeing a “conspiracy” in the jail department’s inquiry into an agency official meeting Sudipta Sen in Alipore jail and the Saradha owner’s allegation of coercion.

The ED today wrote to the Bengal jail department in response to a letter the department had sent to the central agency on May 16, informing it that an “internal inquiry” had been started into the official’s alleged unsanctioned visit.

“The very fact that a letter on such a trivial matter was sent to us and allegations that appear to be false were made seem to be part of a larger conspiracy,” an ED source said.

Saradha chief Sen had lodged a written complaint with the Alipore jail authorities on Tuesday, alleging that the ED official had forced him to sign some “back-dated” Union finance ministry notices by threatening to frame him in cases.

The complaint was forwarded to Alipore police station, following which an inquiry was started.

Jail sources had said the visit by the ED official on April 22 to examine Sen was illegal as court permission had not been taken.

The ED source said the letter sent by the office of the agency’s joint director had “sought an explanation” on what “back-dated” notices meant.

“We have also asked on what grounds did the jail department start an inquiry based on inaccurate facts. The notices were issued to Sen by the finance ministry through a Delhi court on March 11 and March 20,” the source said.

“It takes at least 10-12 days for the notices to reach us in Calcutta. We formally sought a date from the jail officials to serve the notice. We have all relevant documents to prove that the ED official’s visit was legal. The meeting took place in the presence of the jail’s chief disciplinary officer. From where does the question of ‘back-dated notices’ arise?” the source added.

The source said the ED official who had served the notice on Sen was a “mere courier” who was carrying the court’s message to the Saradha owner that some of his properties would be attached.

Sources in the state home department said they had received the ED’s letter.