Signal in Kunal quiz

Read more below

By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 30.04.13
  •  

Calcutta, April 29: Trinamul MP Kunal Ghosh was questioned by police today in what is being seen as part of the state government’s efforts to downplay the need for a CBI probe into the Saradha scandal.

Arnab Ghosh, the deputy commissioner of the detective department of the Bidhannagar commissionerate, had called Kunal to the Salt Lake office this evening, where the MP was quizzed for an hour and a half.

“I replied to all the questions and am ready to face any query. I had wanted to speak in front of those who are directly related to the investigations,” Kunal said. “Although I haven’t been asked to come again, I told them I’ll come whenever they call me.”

Arrested Saradha chief Sudipta Sen had also levelled allegations against Kunal, the executive chairman of the media wing of the group till he resigned earlier this month, in a purported letter to the CBI.

Some employees of the Saradha-owned Channel 10 and newspapers Sakalbela and The Bengal Post had named Kunal, along with Sudipta, in their complaints to the police. The employees had accused the authorities of not depositing their provident fund and income tax deductions.

The Rajya Sabha MP said after the questioning: “I had no access to the company’s account books. I was not responsible for disbursing salary nor did I have the authority to sign any cheque. I had repeatedly asked Sudipta Sen to look into the irregularities in the employees’ PF accounts….”

Kunal, whose monthly pay was put at Rs 15 lakh plus an allowance of Rs 1.5 lakh, said he had not been getting his salary since January.

Trinamul has called a general council meeting on May 3 to take a decision on Kunal’s future. Some senior party leaders, such as Mukul Roy and Partha Chatterjee, had tried to defend Kunal by saying he was “just an employee” of the group.

Against this backdrop, the summons to Kunal was viewed by Trinamul insiders as a reflection of the swinging moods in the party, the latest of which appears to be in favour of keeping a distance from the MP.

“On May 3, the high court will take up the plea for a CBI probe into the Saradha default. The government seems to be trying to send a message that it is not trying to shield Kunal and the law is taking its own course,” said a Trinamul leader.

According to him, the prospect of a CBI probe is tormenting the party as the trail could lead to several senior leaders.

“Since Ghosh was heading the group’s media companies, it was necessary to interrogate him,” deputy commissioner Arnab said, declining to speak more.

Sources said Sen’s purported letter to the CBI did not come up during the quiz.