Kolkata: After West Bengal Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said that he would not be able to go to the CBI office, the officers came to his South Kolkata office and interrogated him for two hours. Chatterjee was interrogated by the central agency for his alleged connection with the chit fund group.
Speaking to the media after the interrogation, Chatterjee said, “I told them that I would not be able to go to their office and so they came here and spoke to me for two hours. I told them that in 2011, being the commerce, industry and IT minister, it was my responsibility to create employment and so I met many companies and I-Core was one of them”.
When asked about his alleged involvement with the group, Chatterjee said, “It is not my responsibility to find out which is a chit-fund group and for that there are agencies like SEBI, ED and CBI. It is their responsibility. I have done my job”.
Chatterjee informed that the CBI had asked him to go to their office but he informed that it was not possible for him to go there and so they came here. “I have cooperated with them to the best of my ability and will be doing so in future. They have shown the courtesy to come here and I have done my part by cooperating with them,” he added.
Earlier in the day Chatterjee, in a letter to the CBI, said that he was a senior citizen and was presently busy with the election of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and so it would not be possible for him to be present for the CBI officers. Chatterjee, however, said that if the CBI officers wanted to interrogate him at his home, he would be available for them and would cooperate with the agency to the best of his knowledge.
The reply came after on September 8, the CBI sent a letter to Chatterjee asking him to appear at the agency’s regional headquarters in Nizam Palace in South Kolkata in connection with the I-Core chit fund scam.
It has been learnt that the CBI has found direct relation of Chatterjee with I-Core group and they want to interrogate him on the basis of that. Sources in the CBI revealed that the investigation agency has found a video clip where Chatterjee was found with I-Core chief Anukul Maity on the stage in a program and Chatterjee was heard speaking in favour of I-Core.
“The date of the video clip dates back to a time when there were several complaints against I-Core and so it would be interesting to learn why, being a minister of the state, Chatterjee went to the program and spoke in favour of I-Core that might have influenced the people. Not only that, during interrogation, on several occasions, Chatterjee’s name popped up and we want to know the exact details from the state minister,” a CBI officer had said.
This is not the first time but there were several other occasions when the central agencies like CBI and ED had sent notices to Partha Chatterjee but he had avoided the interrogation citing his engagement in election and other political programs.
The I-Core chit fund scam broke in 2015 when the Central Investigation Agency arrested the chief of I-Core group Anukul Maity allegedly for illegally mobilising funds collected from small investors to the tune of Rs. 3,000 crore. Maity who faced charges of money laundering was lodged in a jail in Bhubaneswar where he died in November 2020.