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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Enforcement Directorate quizzes Nusrat Jahan, Trinamul Congress MP from Basirhat, for over six hours in Rs 24cr fraud 

Questioning comes in wake of complaint lodged by group of over 400 retired bank employees with central investigating agency on July 31

Kinsuk Basu Calcutta Published 13.09.23, 06:07 AM
Nusrat Jahan arrives to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in Calcutta on Tuesday

Nusrat Jahan arrives to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in Calcutta on Tuesday PTI picture

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned Nusrat Jahan, the Trinamul MP from Basirhat, for over six hours on Tuesday in connection with her alleged involvement with an infrastructure company that has allegedly defrauded a group of senior citizens of Rs 24 crore in all.

The questioning comes in the wake of a complaint lodged by a group of over 400 retired bank employees with the central investigating agency on July 31. The group, led by BJP leader Shankudeb Panda, lodged a complaint with the ED alleging that an infrastructure development company, with Nusrat as one of the directors, cheated them of several crores by promising them flats in New Town.

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Panda had alleged that in 2014, the company struck a deal with 429 members of the group, mostly retired bank employees, to hand over 3 BHK (three bedrooms, hall and kitchen) flats to the members through a cooperative society on a plot of land in New Town near Eco Park.

Close to 500 cottah of land was to be purchased with each member paying over Rs 5 lakh for the project. The deal was that the Gariahat-based company would hand over the apartments in three years, Panda had said.

Among the documents he handed over to the ED were those that state that the Trinamul MP was among the directors of the company, which collected around Rs 24 crore from the investors for the project but did not hand over apartments, Panda had said.

Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP Nandigram MLA and leader of the Opposition, had soon thereafter alleged that Nusrat bought a flat worth Rs 1.55 crore by diverting the amount that the investors had deposited with the infrastructure company.

On Tuesday, Nusrat spoke briefly to journalists after the questioning.

“Whatever the ED wanted and whatever I had to submit has been given,” Nusrat, also a Tollywood actress, told reporters outside the CGO Complex in Salt Lake, which houses the ED’s office, around 5.15pm.

She did not take further questions from reporters.

Senior ED officials said the Trinamul MP had cooperated by replying to almost all the questions fielded at her and that the entire session of questioning had been recorded.

Earlier in August, Nusrat had held a press conference to clarify the charge that she had a flat with the proceeds of crime.

“There is an allegation that I bought an apartment with proceeds of crime. I had taken a loan of Rs 1,16,30,285 (One crore, sixteen lakhs, thirty thousand and two hundred and eight five) from the company,” Nusrat had said while interacting with the media.

“I returned 1,40,71,995 (One crore, 40 lakhs, seventy one thousand, nine hundred and ninety five) with interest to the company on May 6, 2017. I resigned from the company in April 2017 and held no shares.”

Samuel summons

The CBI, which is probing into the Narada scam, has summoned Matthew Samuel, the man behind the cash-for-favour sting, for a round of questioning next Monday.

The purported videos involving a clutch of Trinamul leaders, including Adhikari, who was then with Bengal's ruling party, were released ahead of Lok Sabha elections in 2016. Samuel has been summoned to appear before a team of investigating officers at the CBI’s Nizam Palace office at 10.30am next Monday.

CPM gherao

The CPM decided on Tuesday at its state committee meeting that its prior-announced programme to gherao the CGO Complex in Salt Lake, which houses the CBI office here, would take place on October 5.

The protest event would be against the alleged lackadaisical approach of central probe agencies in arresting those “truly responsible” for "scams" the Trinamul dispensation is mired in. The CPM attributes the approach of the agencies to a "setting" between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The CPM conducted two similar events at the CGO Complex before this, in 2017 and last year.

Alimuddin Street sources said the general view in the party is that the October 5 event would be a good opportunity to send out the message that the CPM’s fierce opposition to Trinamul had not mellowed in Bengal despite both being the constituents of the anti-BJP INDIA bloc at the nation level.

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