Saradha Group owner Sudipta Sen has purportedly claimed that Suvendu Adhikari, now the leader of the Opposition in Bengal from the BJP, used to blackmail him and that he had paid money to the politician.
In a video released by the Trinamul Congress at a media conference on Friday, Sen is seen purportedly telling journalists while entering a prison van that he had paid money to Suvendu “to get plans sanctioned and for acquiring land”. Sen claimed Suvendu had “blackmailed me”.
Sen said he could not recall how much money he had paid, nor did he go into other specifics of his claims.
Suvendu told journalists when asked about Sen’s purported claims: “Go to talk to him. I won’t reply to such bogus stuff.”
Calls The Telegraph made to Suvendu’s phone for comment on the allegations went unanswered. Bengal BJP chief spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said Sen had been “tutored”.
Trinamul said Sen had submitted a letter to the court with details of his alleged transactions with Suvendu, who had earlier been associated with the party and had been a parliamentarian before becoming a state minister.
The video shared by Trinamul shows Sen claiming that he had visited Contai in East Midnapore to meet Adhikari. The Saradha chief appeared to be on the premises of a court in Salt Lake during production by the CBI in connection with the deposit-mobilisation scam.
Trinamul state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said Suvendu joined the BJP to get immunity from the CBI and the ED.
“Sudipta Sen had earlier written in a letter that Suvendu had met him before he (Sen) left Calcutta (after the scam unravelled). Now, Sen is clearly saying that Suvendu had collected money from him. Why shouldn’t he be arrested?” Ghosh said.
The BJP’s Bhattacharya said: “It was a tutored statement and a very weak one. The script is being executed by the police who allowed him to speak. The same police had stopped Kunal Ghosh from speaking when he was under arrest in connection with a Saradha probe.”