Kolkata: The recent arrest of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and former MP KD Singh, infamous as the “chit fund moghul of the country” with an alleged net worth of Rs 10,000 crore, is too little too late, according to Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s politburo member and former MP Md Salim.
Addressing a press conference in Kolkata on January 16, Salim alleged that pursuing the loose ends in the case will even point towards the chief minister’s chair. The former MP added that a thorough probe of the case may lead to a situation where the reigning CM is arrested, as happened during the fodder scam in neighbouring Bihar.
Meanwhile, the TMC leadership has declined to comment on the arrest, adding that the party does not have any connection with Singh. However, Salim noted that Singh is related to the CM’s nephew and TMC’s second-in-command Abhishek Banerjee.
The former TMC leader had reportedly invested in processed chicken retailing and started the chain named Rebublic of Chicken across the country in 2012. The now infamous former MP had also allegedly engineered a miracle in Jharkhand in 2010, when he had been nominated to the Rajya Sabha from the state at a time when his party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha had only two MLAs. Singh had reportedly made this possible by paying off the political parties in the state.
Later, following his switch to TMC in 2011, an article in India Today titled “Mamata’s Billionaire” had stated, “The spartan, moralist Mamata Banerjee's latest MP is a flamboyant businessman with a private jet. His customised $30,000 suits are made-to-order, measured by tailors flown into India by Stefano Ricci, celebrated Italian designer. Rajya Sabha member Kanwar Deep Singh happily calls himself "a spoilt brat". As the tsar of the Rs 10,000 crore Alchemist Group, Singh has deep pockets. With West Bengal going to polls in April, he will prove to be a lucrative asset to Banerjee. TMC sources have indicated that Singh is also close to launching a Bengali news channel in West Bengal ahead of the elections.”
His clout in alleged shady deals, especially in politics, had led to him being considered the number one man of TMC in New Delhi. He was also reportedly responsible for TMC’s legislative gains in states outside Bengal.
Salim also pointed out in the press conference that the FIR against KD Singh had to be registered in Jharkhand as no police station in West Bengal had accepted any FIRs against him. Recalling an unknown story from the Parliament’s canteen, Salim alleged that Singh had even approached him for a bribe in return of maintaining silence over his shady deals, which was rebuffed immediately.
On October 5, 2015, Md Salim, then CPI (M) MP had met the Enforcement Directorate’s head in Delhi to register a complaint against KD Singh and his company Alchemist Group for fraud. He had also submitted documents supporting his allegations against Singh.
Prior to that, on May 6, 2015, Salim also written to then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and submitted documents alleging benami land deals, money laundering and other illegalities under the Alchemist Group. Subsequently, he wrote to the PM on November 23, 2016, highlighting the issues in the group.
Also read: Saradha Chit Fund: SC Notice to Vodafone, Airtel on CBI's Plea Alleging Non-Cooperation
However, it took five long years, the CPI(M) leader told the press, for the authorities to take action and referred to the arrest as nothing but “show-off” before the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. “KD Singh, Sarada, etc., are all part of a nexus running Parliament with money bags. Where is the ethics committee of Parliament working?,” he questioned.
Drawing attention to TMC members’ hooliganism and the party’s alleged protection of its members, Salim said, “We should never forget that following a change in state legislators, former MLA Deblina Hembram was attacked by TMC legislators for raising anti chit fund slogans in the West Bengal Assembly in 2012.”
A year later, the Sarada scam had unfolded in which a number of the front-ranking TMC leaders have been implicated. “On the other hand, a few former TMC leaders like Mukul Roy and Shuvendu Adhikary have changed their political affiliation to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to stay afloat as investigation into these scams progresses,” he told the press.
Sarada , Rose Valley and Alchemist were some of the major chit fund operators in the state.