New Delhi/Kolkata, Aug 28 IANS | 4 months ago

Probing the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Thursday raided 22 locations in West Bengal and Assam, including the residence of a former Assam minister and the offices of Kolkata businessman Sandhir Agarwal.

"CBI searches are on at seven locations in Kolkata, 14 in Assam (12 in Guwahati and 2 in Dhubri district) and one in Mumbai, including at the residence of Assam's former education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and former Assam DGP Shankar Baruah," an official said in New Delhi.

The official said the other residences raided in Assam include that of Congress MLA Anjan Dutta and singer Sadanand Gogoi.

"In Kolkata, searches are on at the residences of former personal assistant to a Bengal minister, Bapi Karim and former IPS officer Deben Biswas," the official said.

In Kolkata, CBI sleuths also searched the residence of a former East Bengal Football Club official and questioned his widow. Another club official, Debabrata Sarkar, has already been arrested.

Now in CBI custody, Kolkata businessman Agarwal, accused of extorting crores of rupees from Saradha promoter and scam kingpin Sudipta Sen, was arrested Aug 24.

Meanwhile, Kolkata-based entrepreneur and the chairman of the now-defunct Xenitis Group, Santanu Ghosh arrived at the CBI office in Kolkata for his questioning for the second consecutive day.

Ghosh along with Assam-based businessman Rajesh Bajaj were interrogated by the agency Wednesday.

Ghosh, said to have made several business transactions with the tainted group, was arrested in June by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

He was granted bail Aug 25 by a city court after the ED failed to submit a charge sheet.

A host of high profile names including West Bengal minister Shyamapada Mukherjee, actress and film maker Aparna Sen, Trinamool Congress MP Ahmed Hassan Imran, and former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar have been grilled by the CBI or the ED in the scam.

The CBI has till now registered 48 cases, including four in West Bengal and 44 in Odisha, in the alleged chit fund scam on the directions of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court had handed over the 10,000 crore Saradha chit fund scam case to the CBI in May 2014 and asked the state governments to provide all logistical help to the agency.

(Posted on 28-08-2014)

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