Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata BanerjeeReuters

After Tapas Pal, it's the turn of Sudip Bandyopadhyay. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested the Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP on Tuesday, January 3, for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Rose Valley group chit fund scam. 

The CBI made the arrest after interrogating Bandhyopadhyay, the party's leader in the Lok Sabha, at the CGO Complex in Kolkata for over four hours. The MP from Kolkata North had gone to meet the CBI officials after he was called quite a few times. CBI sources said that Bandyopadhyay did not want to reply to a number of questions during the interrogation, a regional daily reported.

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TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee strongly reacted against the arrest, saying it was done under pressure from the Prime Minister's Office. She also said: "Like note bandi, this is an attempt of Trinamool-Bandi." Banerjee said her party will hold protests on Wednesday against the senior leader's arrest.

BJP offices in Kolkata attacked, supporters injured

The fallout could already be witnessed in Kolkata as TMC supporters allegedly attacked BJP offices in the city, including the saffron party's headquarters. Quite a few BJP supporters were injured in the attack, local media reported. Also, the traffic was halted on a few roads in the city as a result of the protests.

On December 30, Pal, an actor-turned-MP, was arrested by the investigating agency for his alleged role in the ponzi scheme. The TMC slammed the move as one of "political vendetta", saying it was a retaliation by the ruling party at the Centre against its resistance to the demonetisation call. Pal was produced in a special CBI court in Bhubaneswar on December 31.

Bengal Congress and CPI(M) react

Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took a middle ground when it came to the intensifying TMC-BJP clashes. While he refused to see the arrest as a case of political vendetta, he also felt that the CBI is being used by the central government.

The CPI(M), the arch-rival of Banerjee, welcomed the move. Party MP Mohammad Salim said the arrest was delayed but nevertheless happened eventually. He also said that there is no political vendetta and that the investigation "must reach Mamata's doorsteps". The party had given a similar reaction after Pal's arrest.

The Left had accused the TMC and BJP of making an understanding between them after the CBI investigation in the Saradha chit fund scam had slowed down a few years ago.

About Rose Valley chit fund scam

  • The CBI found Rose Valley having over 20 regional and 880 branch offices, 20 lakh agents of whom around 2.7 lakh actively collected deposits, besides several other properties.
  • The ED is also conducting probe against Rose Valley and has attached assets worth over Rs 1,200 crore.
  • Rose Valley's business boomed during the declining years of the former Left Front government in Bengal.
  • In 2009, the LF government formed an Economic Offence Cell after being alarmed by the rate at which the money-pooling business in the state grew. But little did things change on the ground as people kept pouring money, sometimes even their lifelong savings, into the schemes hoping for high returns.
  • In July 2013, Sebi passed an order against Rose Valley Holiday Membership Plan after the Saradha scam broke out.