- CBI is probing transactions in Trinamool's 'Jago Bangla' mouthpiece
- Mr O'Brien was asked to appear in February, but he sought postponement
- He will now have to go to the CBI office in Kolkata early next month
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has asked Trinamool Congress lawmaker Derek O'Brien to appear before it next month in connection with the Rs 10,000-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
"We are probing certain transactions recorded in the bank accounts of the party's mouthpiece, Jago Bangla. That's why Derek O'Brien has been asked to join the investigation and provide clarifications," a senior CBI official told NDTV, adding that he has been instructed to come to the CBI's Kolkata office in the first week of August.
The Bengal politician linked the CBI summons to the Trinamool Congress' opposition to amendments in the Right To Information Act in a tweet.
JagoBangla is Trinamool's official newspaper. Publisher: Derek O'Brien. Editor Subrata Bakshi was summoned by CBI a months ago to seek clarifications. Now, publisher served a notice at 2pm July25. Trinamool Motion in RS to oppose amendments to RTI Act started at 2pm July25— Derek O'Brien | (@derekobrienmp) July 26, 2019
Although Derek O'Brien was asked by the CBI to appear for questioning in February, he cited parliamentary obligations to seek postponement of questioning.
Derek O'Brien, a fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has often claimed that the Saradha chit fund scam was being "politicised" by the BJP-led central government to defame Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. "Corruption will never stick to Didi's white saree," he had remarked earlier this year.
Earlier this month, the Enforcement Directorate had summoned six people, including Trinamool Congress lawmaker Satabdi Roy and former member Kunal Ghosh, for questioning in the chit fund scam. Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar is also an accused in the case.
The Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal has been dogged by the Saradha chit fund scam as well as the Rs 17,500-crore Rose Valley scam for several years now. A further blow came in the recent Lok Sabha elections, when the ruling party's tally came down from 42 in the 2014 contest to just 22. The BJP, on the other hand, was able to push up its numbers to 18 - just four seats less than the Trinamool Congress.