Actor Bonny Sengupta, who was allegedly given a Land Rover Discovery Sport by Trinamul Congress leader Kuntal Ghosh in lieu of payment for a film, returned Rs 44 lakh to the account of the youth leader.
Ghosh is in judicial remand following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged corruption in recruitments in the government-aided schools.
Sengupta, sources in the ED said, had made an online transfer to Ghosh’s account on Thursday after complying with two summons issued by the central agency in the last few days.
Soma Chakraborty, an acquaintance of Ghosh, also returned Rs 55.63 lakh to Ghosh’s account, officials said. Earlier, she had told the central agency that she had taken the money as a loan for her business.
Sengupta told mediapersons on Thursday that he had taken the money as an advance for a film. He said that instead of taking money, he had requested Ghosh to purchase him a car with his remuneration amount.
“The money was to be paid to me as an advance for a movie. Instead of taking the money, I asked him to directly buy me a car. Later, when the project did not materialise, I returned the money by making free appearances in around 40 events organised by him,” the actor told ABP Ananda.
ED officers said both Sengupta and Chakraborty had claimed ignorance about the “source” of the money they had taken from Ghosh.
“Both have claimed they were not aware of the fact that the money they were taking from Kuntal Ghosh was the proceeds of crime related to recruitment irregularities,” said an ED officer.
ED officers said 10 bank accounts belonging to Ghosh have been seized by the agency, including the one where Sengupta and Chakraborty have transferred the money.
ED sources said they had found several other transactions made from Ghosh’s account, indicating multiple beneficiaries to the alleged proceeds of the crime.
“All of them, including those attached to the Tollywood industry, will be questioned,” said an officer.
Ghosh was produced in the special CBI court on Friday.
The lawyer appearing for Ghosh said his client was innocent as no cash was recovered from his house. The prosecution lawyers, however, said he had to explain the source of the money found in his bank account.
The judge after hearing both sides rejected his bail prayer and extended Ghosh’s judicial remand till March 30.