6:40 am - Wednesday December 19, 2018

Didi demands CBI probe into ‘chit fund benefits’ to media

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Giving a clean chit to her party members in the multi-crore Saradha financial scam, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday trained her guns at a certain section of “paid media” for trying to portray them as thieves. She also demanded a CBI investigation into the “financial benefits” received by some media houses for publishing advertisements of the chit fund companies and “glorifying the chit fund owners”.
“The central agencies are probing into the channels owned by Saradha, bought by Saradha and sold by Saradha. But today I am officially demanding an investigation into the financial benefits received by the media houses from the chit fund companies,” Mamata said.
She said soon after Saradha group went bust there were several “TV channels, which suddenly vanished”. “What happened to them? There is a law that says glorifying the chit fund companies and doing publicity for them is also a crime. There are some media houses which had carried jacket advertisements for the chit fund companies and had earned crores. This is also corruption. They should be booked too,” she said.
She said newspapers in west Bengal tried to dub “our party men as thieves” although no chit fund money was taken by the TMC. “I have no grudge against you, but do not tell lies. I have documents to prove everything. I know which journalist and editor accept freebies and from whom. Who gets things from shops for free. I know who gets free food delivered for rice ceremony and marriage anniversaries. But I am gentle enough not to disclose the names,” she added.
Mamata’s comments have come at a time when the CBI and ED have already questioned some partymen, including a state minister, in connection with the Saradh chit fund scam.
She said she had no objection to the two agencies investigating into the deals between artist Suvaprasanna and the Saradha Group. “There are several other deals between TV channels and some media houses. Those should also be investigated. Why did the Government of India allow chit funds to operate and not declare them illegal? Chit funds were operating in Bengal since the 80’s when the Left Front was in power. Why did the Centre issue media licenses to the chit funds? Where were the SEBI, RBI and other agencies at that time?”, she asked.
Referring to black money, Mamata without naming BJP wondered “how a party which spends crores of rupees during election campaign will be able to curb black

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