Actor-turned-politician Tapas Pal was on Friday arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Rose Valley chit-fund scam. Chit fund scams thus came back to haunt the Trinamool Congress — of which Pal is a member. Party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quick to hit back, saying the BJP was also involved in a chit fund scam.
Pal — who acted in a number of Bengali films, but only one Hindi film, which also starred Madhuri Dixit on her debut in the film Abodh — had been summoned to the North 24 Parganas office of the CBI on Friday for questioning in connection with the scam. He was arrested after the interrogation.
The MP has been in the headlines ever since joining politics. In 2014, he had to face ire from various sections fo society after saying he would send his "boys" to rape women in CPM activists or workers' houses. He later tried to clarify that he had tried to say "raid" and not "rape." Although the stigma from that statement persists, Pal has always found support from his party.
The Trinamool Congress was quick to react to the development on Friday as well, with its spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien tweeting: "So now political attrocities against those opposed to #NoteBandi and with the movement. We will fight it out. [sic]" He added: "Many film stars directors,sports persons r brand ambassadors. So what next ? Those from BIP who are brand ambassadors will also be? Right ? [sic]"
Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee soon slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the move. She had earlier accused him of using agencies under the Central government to exact some sort of vendetta on her and members of her party.
Banerjee said on Friday that the BJP was also connected to a scam like the one by Rose Valley. "The BJP is connected to the Pearl group chit-fund scam, which is worth Rs 50,000 crore," she said, adding: "Political vendetta has reached a new low. I will not be surprised if they arrest all our MPs."
What is the Rose Valley scam?
The Rose Valley group owns and operates more than 20 hotels and resorts in India. It reportedly raised around Rs 15,000 crore from various sources around India as part of investment. a large chunk of this money came from West Bengal, and Pal was brand ambassador of the group.
The Rose Valley group top brass is currently accused of siphoning off huge sums of money from these investments for personal gain. The company is currently under investigation from various agencies regarding this scam.