Just a day before second round of polling takes place in Bengal, the Saradha chit fund scam case is coming up for hearing in the Supreme Court today. Bengal government has so far contested that CBI probe is not needed in this matter. A ruling against Mamata government’s wishes is likely to make it extremely vulnerable to frontal attacks from opposition parties in the campaign trail.
Show me the money
The division bench of Supreme Court had repeatedly asked the state government to establish the money trail in the entire Saradha scam. According to Rahul Gandhi, the scam is worth 18 thousand crores. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been asked to furnish details regarding where did this huge stash of money go. The government is set to submit a forensic audit report before apex court. From reports received, government will declare that in total 2,460 crores were collected from investors. They have managed to account for nearly 1,900 crores of that money.
The lawyers representing the state government has repeatedly pleaded to the judges to give their verdict after the elections get over. It remains to be seen if the Court accepts their requests. In the meanwhile, opposition politicians are having a field day cornering the TMC government in this issue.
Sonia, Modi attacks Mamata
This has been one issue which has suddenly brought arch rivals Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi to the same side of the political divide. Addressing a rally for Deepa Dasmunsi in Raiganj, Sonia Gandhi vehemently attacked the Mamata government. Taking a cue from her son who first tried to make Saradha scam a poll issue, Congress President was extremely aggressive in her views. She alleged of a nexus between TMC government and owners of Saradha group to loot nearly 18 lakh poor investors. She took a jibe on the poor law and order condition of the state.
Not to be left far behind, Narendra Modi too upped the ante regarding Saradha chit fund scam. He said that this massive scam has led to huge loss for poor people. Some have even committed suicide. Without going into specifics Modi was keen on a mechanism to investigate the matter which commoners can trust on.
Didi loses cool
Flummoxed by verbal volleys from Sonia Gandhi, with whom she maintains a close personal bond, didi lost her cool. In one of the rallies, she even referred to Chidambaram as “tui” (normally done in a derogatory sense). She put the entire onus of controlling chit fund on the hands of the Central government. She said that Saradha chit fund started in 2006, when Left Front was in power in the state. UPA supported by the Left was governing in centre. Thus it is unfair to blame the current TMC government which has put the main kingpin behind bars.
She alleged that this is merely a ploy to score political points on the election battle. Sudipto Sen, owner of now defunct Saradha group had mentioned Chidambaram’s wife in one of his letter. Didi again raked up that letter to say that action must be taken against Nalini Chidambaram too.
Battle of perceptions
Mamata Banerjee has always projected her incorruptible image to seek a higher moral ground. Thus she seems to be increasingly perturbed by the allegations levelled against her party. Every day there are selective leaks in the media outlets about how Enforcement Directorate (ED) is tightening their noose around some of the top leaders of the ruling government.
There are allegations that detectives belonging to the state government are not supplying ED with all the necessary documents. A Supreme Court order asking CBI to investigate the matter will further dent state government’s credibility. Hence didi is so worried. Caesar’s wife has to be truly above suspicion.