Narada sting case: Third big blow to Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee called the Calcutta High Court's verdict in the Narada sting-operation case the "most unfortunate" of its kind. Expressing shock, she said All India Trinamool Congress, would move the SC in this case. Calcutta HC handing over probe into the case to the CBI is the "third big blow" to her in three years. Let's revisit the controversies surrounding her.
The Saradha Group chit fund scam
The Supreme Court, in May'14, directed CBI to investigate the Saradha Group chit fund scam, which duped millions of depositors from Odisha and Jharkhand to Assam and Tripura. The group collapsed in Apr'13; its Chairman Sudipta Sen and Executive Editor Debjani Mukherjee were arrested in Kashmir. Agitations erupted after a spate of suicides of depositors and agents who lost their money gripped West Bengal.
Prominent leaders arrested
The probe into Saradha scam hit the ruling Trinamool Congress hard. Though the effect wasn't seen during the 2013 rural polls, 2014 Lok Sabha and 2016 Assembly elections, CBI's investigation led to the arrest and interrogation of the party members, including some prominent leaders.
Sports and Transport Minister Madan Mitra arrested
The most prominent face to suffer due to the Saradha scam investigation was Madan Mitra, the then West Bengal Sports and Transport Minister and a confidante of Mamata Banerjee. He was arrested in Dec'14; he got bail after spending 21 months in the jail, in Sep'16. Other important leaders who were imprisoned include Rajya MP Srinjoy Bose and Trinamool Congress's Vice-President Rajat Majumdar.
CBI's investigation into Rose Valley Group scam
The second blow to Banerjee's party was CBI's probe into the financial scam involving Rose Valley Group. Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul was arrested in Dec'16 and the party's leader in Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, in Jan'17. While both the leaders are behind the bars, it's speculated that more party leaders may be summoned for interrogation by the CBI in relation to the scam.
Ruling party leaders under the scanner
Similar to the Saradha scam case, ruling party leaders are under the scanner in the Rose Valley Group case. CBI recently arrested Prayag Group father-son duo, Basudeb Bagchi, and Avik Bagchi, who are behind a 12,500-acre film city in West Midnapore's Chandrakona for their involvement.
Leaders were seen accepting cash on TV
The amount involved in Saradha scam is about Rs. 2,500cr, and Rose Valley scam is Rs. 17,000cr. In the Narada sting case, the cash received by Trinamool leaders is about Rs. 5 lakh each, a fraction of the amounts involved in the financial scams. But the shock delivered by the Narada sting is more than the others, as people could see leaders accepting money.
Vivekananda Road Flyover collapse in Kolkata
In Mar'16, another controversy hit Trinamool Congress - the collapse of the under-construction Vivekananda Road Flyover in Kolkata. 27 were dead and 80 were injured in the incident. Local Trinamool leaders allegedly supplied substandard materials for flyover construction. Kolkata Police filed the charge-sheet in Jun'16. Ten engineers and officials of the construction company IVRCL were named; they were charged under IPC sections 304 and 308.