Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal, both currently in the news after their arrest by central agencies on corruption charges, hail from two completely different social and cultural backgrounds.
An alumnus of the iconic Narendrapur Ramakrishna Mission Residential School, a bachelor's degree holder in economics from the University of Calcutta and finally a management degree holder from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Chatterjee's professional career was brilliant. Till joining active politics with the Trinamool Congress in 2001, he was the general manager in charge of the human resources development department with Andrew Yule & Company Limited, from where he resigned and successfully contested the 2001 West Bengal assembly elections from Behala (West) constituency, from where he is still an MLA.
Since then, there was no looking back for Chatterjee until the end of last month when he was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths in connection with the multi-crore West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam.
Till his arrest last month, Chatterjee enjoyed the affection and patronage of Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee as is evident from his meteoric rise within the party. From the position of the Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly to holder of different high-profile portfolios in the West Bengal government, Chatterjee's rise within the party was really fast. In fact, the post of secretary general in the Trinamool Congress was created specially by the chief minister to give Chatterjee a status equivalent to the party's national general secretary. He became the most trusted lieutenant and second-in-command of Mamata Banerjee.
On the other hand, Anubrata Mondal came from a lower-middle class family from Birbhum district and received negligible formal education. He earned his livelihood as a retail fish trader at the local fish market in Bolpur. However, his unique selling point was his diehard anti-CPI(M) stand and rough and tough image due to which he became a terror for the organizational structure of the CPI(M) even during the peak of Left Front rule.
There he caught the attention of Mamata Banerjee, the then opposition leader in West Bengal and there started his rise within the party in his own limited sphere of Birbhum district. After the Trinamool Congress came to power in West Bengal in 2011 ending the 34-year Left Front rule, Mondal was nominated as the Trinamool Congress Birbhum district president, a post which he still holds. He has the record of being the only district president in the party who had never been replaced.
Understanding his cultural and communication limitations, he came to an understanding with the chief minister that he will remain satisfied as the party's Birbhum district president and not eye any legislative or ministerial post.
Since then, there had been several complaints against both Chatterjee and Mondal about their respective styles of functioning. The complaint against Chatterjee was that he always used to boast of being the second-in-command to Mamata Banerjee both in the state government as well as in the party and often used to dump his own decisions on his subordinates claiming he had the consent of the chief minister. Some senior party leaders tried to raise this issue with the chief minister but stepped back as Banerjee was reluctant to entertain any internal complaint about Chatterjee.
Similarly, Mondal's style of functioning as the party's Birbhum district president was virtually like the lord of the district administration. In front of TV cameras, he was heard directing a senior district police officer to implicate a woman leader of the CPI(M) in a narcotics case. At public meetings he was heard directing his followers to hurl bombs at police vehicles if they do not follow party instructions. He could continue with such autocratic misconduct as he had the patronage of the chief minister, who even once said in a public meeting that Mondal suffers from lack of oxygen in his brain which often makes him lose his temper. "Some people are after him. They say a lot of things against him. But at the end of the day, he is a good organizer and my support is always for good organizers. Remember that he has a problem. He does not keep well and needs oxygen support frequently," the chief minister said at a public rally at Bolpur in February 2014.
Maverick Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra indirectly admitted that both Chatterjee and Mondal enjoyed special authority in the party. "Body structure-wise or authority-wise both Partha and Anubrata were truly heavyweight leaders. However, the situation has changed now and the party leadership said that there will be no association with anyone involved in corruption," he said.
According to CPI(M) central committee member and former leader of Left legislative parties in the Assembly, Sujan Chakraborty, be it Partha Chatterjee or Anubrata Mondal, both were just puppets in the hands of the supreme leader of the ruling party. "No one believes that the two had been resorting to such criminal offences without the knowledge or the direct patronage of the supreme leader. Now the supreme leader is trying to brush away responsibility since both have been arrested and will not serve any purpose for her. It is high time that central agencies divert their investigation towards the main brain behind all this corruption," he said.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that it had always been the practice of the Trinamool Congress supremo to give unlimited powers to party leaders as long as they could serve her purpose and then quietly turn away from the same leaders when they got caught. "In the coming days ruling party leaders facing similar heat from the central agencies will receive the same treatment from her," he said.
According to political analyst Nirmalya Banerjee every political party has some crude elements who handle the darker side of political activities like arranging funds or keeping the opposition under control through undemocratic means. "Even CPI(M) had an organized force of such crude elements. But the difference is that the top CPI(M) leadership had always set the limits up to which such elements can function. Any crude element trying to cross those limits were first cautioned and then silently eliminated from the party. But the problem was that the Trinamool Congress, not being an organized political force like the CPI(M), had never set any limit for its leaders. And when limits were not set there was no question of cautioning them if they crossed the boundaries," he said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday filed its supplementary charge sheet in connection with the Rs 3,700 crore Yes Bank-DHFL loan fraud case.
"A supplementary charge sheet has been filed today against Avinash N. Bhosale, Satyan Gopaldas Tandon, Metropolis Hotels LLP, ABIL Infraprojects Pvt Ltd, ABIL Hospitality Pvt Ltd, Arindam Developers LLP, Avinash Bhosale Group and Flora Developments Ltd," the CBI said.
The federal probe agecny had arrested Sanjay Chabaria of Radius Developers, in May. Radius Developers took loan of Rs 3,000 crore from Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) on the pretext of financing a project in Mumbai.
"Bhonsle, Goenka and Balwa allegedly used their firms to channel money from the loan. Hence their premises were also raided," the CBI had said.
In March 2020, a case of loan fraud of Rs 3,600 crore was lodged by the CBI against Rana Kapoor, the promoter Director and CEO of Yes Bank for entering into a criminal conspiracy with Kapir wadhawan, the promoter Director of DHFL and others.
Financial assistance was extended to DHFL by Yes Bank in lieu of substantial undue benefit to himself and his family members through the companies held by them.
Between April to June 2018, Yes Bank Ltd invested Rs 3,700 crore in the short-term debentures of DHFL. Simultaneously, Wadhawan paid a kickback of Rs 600 crore to Kapoor and his family members in the garb of builder loan of Rs 600 crore given by DHFL to DOIT Urban Ventures (India) Pvt Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of RAB Enterprises (India) Pvt Ltd in which Bindu Kapoor, the wife of Kapoor, is a director and 100 per cent shareholder.
Kapoor's daughters - Roshini Kapoor, Radha Kapoor Khanna, and Raakhe Kapoor Tandon were 100 per cent shareholders of DOIT Urban Ventures (India) Pvt Ltd through Morgan Credits Pvt Ltd.
It was learnt that a loan of Rs 600 crore was sanctioned by DHFL to DOIT Urban Ventures on the basis of a mortgage of a sub-standard property having a very meagre value and by considering its future conversion from agricultural land to residential land.
It was also learnt that DHFL had not redeemed the amount of Rs 3,700 crore invested by Yes Bank in its debentures till date. In addition to the above, Yes Bank also sanctioned a loan of Rs 750 crore to RKW Developers Pvt Ltd - a DHFL group company - for their Bandra Reclamation Project.
The whole amount was siphoned off by Wadhawan since the entire amount was transferred by RKW Developers to DHFL without making investment in the Bandra project for which the loan was sanctioned. Thus, Kapoor obtained undue pecuniary advantage from DHFL through the companies held by his wife and daughters. It was also learnt that Kapoor had obtained illegal kickbacks directly or indirectly through entities controlled by him or his family members
Delhi Lieutenant Governor V.K. Saxena has recommended a CBI probe into the Arvind Kejriwal government's Excise Policy 2021-22.
The CBI investigation has been recommended after a report by the Chief Secretary established prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, Delhi Excise Act 2009 and Delhi Excise Rules 2010, said a statement from LG House.
It also pointed out about the deliberate and gross procedural lapses to provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees for the year 2021-22.
These indicate substantively of financial quid pro quo at the top political level, wherein the Minister In-charge of the Excise Department Manish Sisodia took and got executed major decisions, actions in violation of the statutory provisions and the notified Excise Policy that had huge financial implications, the statement reads.
However, responding to the CBI probe, AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's "growing reputation across the country, even in Panchayat elections has threatened the centre."
"We'd been saying, especially after Punjab win, that BJP central govt is scared of us. Several inquiries will be launched in days to come," he said on Friday.
Religare Enterprises Ltd's former Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Godhwani was arrested by the Delhi Police's Economic Offence Wing on Tuesday in an Rs 800 crore fraud case, a police official said.
Godhwani was already under judicial custody pertaining to an earlier offence.
"Yes we have arrested him (Godhwani)," Joint Commissioner of Police, Economic Offences Wing, Chhaya Sharma told IANS.
In December last year, Religare's former CEO Krishnan Subramanian was arrested for siphoning off public money to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore.
Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL) representative Manpreet Singh Suri had filed a complaint against former promoters Malvinder Singh, and Shivinder Singh, Godhwani and others holding key managerial posts, alleging that having absolute control over Religare Enterprises Ltd and its subsidiaries, these persons put RFL in poor financial condition by way of disbursing loans to companies having no financial standings.
In view of the sufficient incriminating evidence on record, Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, along with three others holding key managerial positions in RFL, have already been arrested and charge-sheeted.
Police officials privy to the probe say that these companies willfully defaulted in repayments and caused wrongful loss to RFL to the tune of Rs 2,397 crore. This was also pointed out and flagged during the independent audit by the RBI and the SEBI.
Jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi was questioned by the Delhi Police over a threat letter that was recently received by Bollywood megastar Salman Khan and his father, writer Salim Khan, official sources said on Tuesday.
According to the sources, Bishnoi has denied any involvement in the said death threat and maintained that he has no hand in it.
Bishnoi was questioned by the Special Cell as he had previously, a few years back, vowed to kill Salman Khan for the latter's alleged involvement in the infamous black buck poaching case.
The Mumbai Police said that Salim Khan, 87, was handed over an unsigned, hand-written threat letter on Sunday morning around 7.30 a.m. by an unknown person on a bench where he normally rests after jogging at the Bandra Bandstand promenade, and it was addressed to him and his son Salman.
The letter is signed off with some initials which the police are probing and also attempting to unravel if they are linked to any past incidents targeting Salman Khan.
The police are also scouring CCTV footage of the area for clues and questioning locals for further leads on the threat letter.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Jharkhand High Court to decide on the maintainability of PILs seeking CBI/ED probe against Chief Minister Hemant Soren in connection with grant of mining lease and transfer of funds into shell companies.
A vacation bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi said: "We direct that the issue as to maintainability should be dealt with by the high court on the next date of listing."
The bench added that based on the outcome of the objections to the maintainability of the proceedings, the high court may thereafter proceed in accordance with the law.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), submitted that material recovered from IAS officer Pooja Singhal shows direct linkage with political higher ups. Mehta emphasized that it is a very serious matter and a money trail was found and added that he apprehends the evidence is being destroyed.
Singhal was the Secretary of the Department of Mines and Geology and the Managing Director of Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation Limited (JSMDC). On May 11, the ED arrested her and she was suspended by the Jharkhand government on May 12.
The top court was informed that there were PILs before the high court, where one of the PILs sought direction from the ED to investigate FIR pertaining to alleged offences arising out of the disbursement of MGNREGA funds. The other sought a probe into the alleged transfer of money by the Soren family into certain companies. The third PIL sought sanctioning prosecution of the Chief Minister, for obtaining mining leases under his own name, therefore he is allegedly liable to be charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Jharkhand High Court has tagged these three PILs together.
The Jharkhand government has sought the dismissal of the PILs on the ground of maintainability. The state government challenged the decision of the Jharkhand High Court to accept the documents produced by the ED in sealed cover overruling the state government's objections.
During the hearing, the top court noted that on May 13, the high court decided to hear the preliminary objections to the maintainability of the petitions, and clarified that it has gone into the merits of the allegations.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Jharkhand government, submitted that the PIL petitioner had suppressed that he had filed similar cases before and added that the petitioner is politically motivated. The Jharkhand government moved the top court challenging a division bench order of the high court, where it declined to entertain the state's objection to the acceptance of the documents in sealed cover.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday was conducting raids at 16 different locations in Bihar and Delhi linked to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and his daughter, Misa Bharti, in connection with a land for job scam.
The scam involved taking land from unemployed youths on the pretext of providing them government jobs.
A CBI source said that a fresh case was recently lodged against Lalu and others for accepting bribes from unemployed youths and cheating them on the pretext of providing them jobs in the government sector.
"Yadav, when he was the Union minister, through his aide or directly told the innocent persons that he would help them get government jobs. And they took land from the job seekers. However, the jobs were not provided to all," the source said.
When asked how many such land pieces were acquired by Lalu and others through this, the source said they were making a list.
The CBI officials are also recording the statements of those who are present at the locations.
This comes weeks after the RJD leader was granted bail in the Rs 950-crore fodder scam case. He has already been convicted in five cases of the fodder scam.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting search operations in four cities in connection with an IPL betting racket involving a Pakistani national.
The searches are going on in Delhi, Jaipur, Hyederabad and another city. The agency has recovered a few incriminating documents during the raids so far.
The CBI has lodged an FIR against three persons who have been identified as Dileep Kumar, a resident of Delhi's Rohini area, and Gurram Satish and Gurram Vasu, both residents of Hyderabad. The trio allegedly influenced IPL matches in 2019 on the instruction of a Pakistani handler.
They were in touch with a Pakistani national named Waqas Malik, who used to call them frequently from across the border.
The accused had allegedly opened multiple bank accounts using forged documents and by bribing bank officials to route hawala money involved in the IPL betting racket.
"A reliable information was received about a network of individuals involved in cricket betting by influencing the outcomes of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches based on inputs received from Pakistan. They were cheating the general public by inducing them for betting," a CBI official said.
The official added that a part of the money received from the general public in India on account of such betting activities was shared with their associates based in foreign countries using hawala transactions. As per the information received, the said network of individuals was involved in cricket betting since 2013.
"The trio and others were in contact with one Pakistani suspect named Waqas Malik, who contacted Kumar and Satish and some unknown persons in India using a Pakistani number. They were all part of a network involved in illegal betting activities," the CBI official said.
Kumar, Satish and Vasu used different IDs in KYC forms of the bank accounts in connivance with unknown bank officials. Transactions worth over Rs 45 lakh were found to be suspicious in one of Kumar's accounts.
This network of individuals was involved in betting in IPL matches held in 2019. They were routing the money for illegal purposes.
"The transactions of domestic deposits in the bank account of Vasu defied economic rationale. They were valued at more than Rs 5.37 crore between 2012-13 and 2019-20. The KYC documents of the suspect bank accounts were not properly scrutinised by the bank officials. Maximum cash deposited in these accounts were of pan-India nature which further substantiated the allegation of these unusual financial transactions being linked to cricket betting and other criminal activities," the official said.
IAS officer and Jharkhand Mines Secretary Pooja Singhal was on Wednesday arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after her second day of questioning in connection with the ongoing probe of Prevention of Money Laundering case pertaining to alleged embezzelment of MNREGS funds.
Singhal on Wednesday she again joined the probe after being grilled for 9 hours on Tuesday. The ED, after collecting enough evidence against her, placed her under arrest.
The ED sources said that they would scan her transactions of the last three years, to check the suspicious money trail, if any.
The agency is also scanning details of all her properties.
A source said that total of four cars of her husband Abhishek Jha's CA Suman Kumar, who was arrested on Saturday, have been seized, as sources said that someone else had made the payments for luxury cars, which is suspicious.
Cash amounting to around Rs 19 crore which was recovered in the raids by the ED. It is said that it was Singhal's money. The ED will try to know from where this cash came from.
Apart from the CA, her husband was placed under arrest on Saturday.
Suman Kumar was then sent to five days ED custody which is ending on Wednesday.
He had come on the radar during the course of the investigation. He also handles accounts of Singhal's husband.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Friday morning conducted raids at more than 18 places, including Ranchi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Kolkata, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, and in several parts of NCR including Faridabad and Gurugram as well as Noida.
They had to take help of bank officials and a currency counting machine to estimate the amount of cash seized
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted raids in over 18 locations in connection with Prevention of Money Laundering case related to illegal mining and misappropriation of MGNREGA funds in Jharkhand.
Around Rs 17 crore in cash and a few incriminating documents were recovered from a Jharkhand based CA's house.
A source said that the CA is close to IAS officer Pooja Singhal whose premises were also searched in the raid.
Raids were conducted at Ranchi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Kolkata, Muzaffarpur, Saharsa, besides several parts of NCR, including Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram.
"Hariom Tower of Ranchi's Lalpur area, Faridabad and other places are being searched. We have recovered a few incriminating documents in the raid. Residents of senior government officials are being searched by the teams," the source said.
Notably, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren is also mining minister. The raids started early Friday morning and were still on.
The probe team is being assisted by the local police. It is also recording the statements of few people.
The ED is yet to release any official statement in this respect.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recovered incriminating documents from the premises of three top realtors -- Shahid Balwa, Avinash Bhonsle and Vinod Goenka -- in Mumbai and Pune during raids in connection with Yes Bank-DHFL scam.
The federal probe agency had arrested Sanjay Chabaria of Radius Developers, three days back and raids were conducted following his interrogation.
Radius Developers had taken a loan of Rs 3,000 crore from Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL) on the pretext of financing a project in Mumbai.
"Bhonsle, Goenka and Balwa allegedly used their firms to channel money of the loan. Hence their premises were also raided," the source had said.
The source said that they have recovered a few incriminating documents, digital and documentary evidence in the raids conducted on Saturday.
A few persons were also quizzed by the CBI. The sources said that more arrests in the case is likely.
In March 2020, a case of loan fraud of Rs 3,600 crore was lodged by the CBI against Rana Kapoor, the promoter Director and CEO of Yes Bank for entering into a criminal conspiracy with Kapir Wadhawan, promoter Director of DHFL and others.
They extended financial assistance to DHFL by Yes Bank Limited in lieu of substantial undue benefit to himself and his family members through the companies held by them.
Between April and June 2018, Yes Bank Limited invested Rs 3,700 crore in the short term debentures of DHFL. Simultaneously, Wadhawan paid a kickback of Rs 600 crore to Kapoor and his family members in the garb of builder loan of Rs 600 crore given by DHFL to DOIT Urban Ventures (lndia) Private l-imited, a wholly owned subsidiary of RAB Enterprises (lndia) Private limited in which Bindu Kapoor, wife of Kapoor is a director and 100 per cent shareholder.
Daughters of Kapoor Roshini Kapoor, Radha Kapoor Khanna and Raakhe Kapoor Tandon are 100 per cent shareholders of DOIT Urban Ventures (lndia) Private limited through Morgan Credits Private Limited.
It was learned that a loan of Rs 600 crore was sanctioned by DHFL to DOIT Urban Ventures (lndia) Private Limited on the basis of a mortgage of a sub-standard property having very meager value and by considering its future conversion from agricultural land to the residential land.
Also, the DHFL had not redeemed the amount of Rs 3700 crore invested by Yes Bank in its debentures till date. In addition to the above, Yes Bank also sanctioned a loan of Rs 750 crore to RKW Developers Private Limited which is a DHFL group company for their Bandra Reclamation Project.
And the whole amount was siphoned off by Wadhawan since the entire amount was transferred by RKW Developers Private Limited to DHFL without making an investment in Bandra Reclamation Project for which the loan was sanctioned. Thus, Kapoor, obtained undue pecuniary advantage from DHFL through the companies held by his wife and daughters. It was also learnt that Kapoor had obtained illegal kickbacks directly or indirectly through entities controlled by him or his family members.