Kolkata: How ever much West Bengal chief minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee wants to ward-off the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in probing the chit fund scam in the state, the sting of the investigating agency is not leaving her.
According to reports, the CBI team investigating the “cash-for-promoting” scandal against railway minister P.K. Bansal and Mahesh Kumar has sought files from the railway ministry for probing appointments and transfers in the last four years.
Banerjee was railway minister in the UPA II government from May 2009 to May 2011 until she took over Bengal. The agency is now preparing to interrogate Banerjee’s Officer on Special Duty at that time, Gautam Sanyal, who is now secretary to the CM and Ratan Mukherjee her confidential secretary.
Some key appointments, including that of Railway Protection Force (RPF) Director General P K Mehta and others in the railway board, are now under the scanner. Mehta had reportedly superseded 28 officers to become RPF chief in May 2011, which was against the norm, sources said.
Also some allotement and outsourcing of railway jobs are under the scanner. Investigating agency believes that there was a nexus between officials of RPF Officers’ Association and private persons in the transfers and promotions and officials paid money to get posts.
Confirming this, CBI spokesperson told Gulf News: “Appointments and allotment of tenders made in the last four years are also under inquiry. The investigations are on and initial finding suggest that there were wrongdoings. There were many tenders which were cancelled thrice over before allotement. Also some key public relation work was outsourced at lower prices,” he said.
Sensing trouble, Banerjee has already played the conspiracy card of the Congress against her government. “They [Congress], in collusion with their erstwhile partner Left Front, are trying to disturb the Trinamool Congress government. They have used CBI to blackmail Mayawati, Jayalalitha, and Mulayam Singh in the past. Till now they could not find any evidence of misdoings against me, hence they are worried,” Banerjee told Gulf News.
Hinting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Banerjee added: “I am telling the king and the queen not to play with fire. People of this country will not forgive them. I belong to a poor family and not a royal family and hence am not greedy about money.”
However, Trinamool Congress’s silence over the whole bribery scandal has surprised the political outfit of Bengal.
“She doesn’t leave a single chance to attack us. But in this case there was complete silence from her and her party colleagues who were also railway ministers after she become CM, which is quite astonishing,” said state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharyya.