CBI questions Bengal minister in chit fund scam case

Express News Service

KOLKATA: A four-member CBI team on Monday interrogated West Bengal Industry and Commerce Minister, Partha Chatterjee, for two hours at his office in connection with the I-Core chit fund scam. The central agency served Chatterjee a notice asking him to turn up at the investigating agency’s office on Monday to face interrogation. The Bengal minister informed the CBI that he was a senior citizen and would not be able to go to the agency’s office. He also requested the central agency follow the procedure at his office. “They questioned me as a minister of the state. I told them whatever I had to say. I hope they are satisfied with my answer. I also told them that I will be always ready to cooperate in the investigation,” Chatterjee said. 

Earlier, the central agency had sent three notices to Chatterjee. “When he replied to our last notice saying he would not be able to come to our office to reply to our questions, we decided to send four officers to his office to record his statement,” said a CBI officer in Kolkata. 

Chatterjee was seen attending some of the public events organised by I-Core. “He was present in the events as a minister of West Bengal. We questioned him to ascertain the extent of his role in the scam,” said the CBI officer. 

Sources in the central agency said a club in Naktala in south Kolkata received huge funds from I-Core during Durga Puja a few years back and Chatterjee was associated with the club. 

The now-defunct I-Core has been charged with duping investors by promising them abnormally high returns on investments. The CBI had summoned Chatterjee in March this year and recorded his statement.

On multiple occasions, Chatterjee denied the allegation of his involvement in the chit fund scam. The central agency had arrested two directors of the firm, Anukul Maity and his wife Kanika, last year and Maity passed away in jail last year.