CBI quizzes Mukul Roy in Saradha case; TMC tense

CBI quizzes Mukul Roy in Saradha case; TMC tense

The Trinamool Congress breathed a sigh of relief as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) let go party national general secretary Mukul Roy after extensive questioning on Friday.

Senior party leaders had feared that like other Trinamool ministers and MPs questioned by the agency, Roy would also be arrested at the end of the day.

The relief, however, could be temporary as Roy has reportedly passed on the buck to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee when questioned about senior party leaders’ link with Saradha chairman Sudipto Sen and the kind of money that changed hands.

According to sources, the interrogators asked 10 key questions during the five hours Roy was at the CBI office. He was quizzed in phases, with some questions being repeated a number of times to catch him offguard.

Neither the CBI officials nor Roy revealed what transpired inside the agency’s office at Salt Lake here. Sources, however, said the Trinamool leader was asked about details of the meeting held at Delo bungalow near Darjeeling sometime in 2010, where Mamata was likely to have been present, along with Sen, Roy and arrested Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh.

While Roy was asked about the deal struck between IRCTC and Saradha at the meeting, the Trinamool second-in-command is reported to have said that though he was present, he did not have much idea about the deal as he was not the Rail minister then. He is said to have passed on the blame to Mamata and said that all deals between IRCTC and Saradha were signed during her tenure as Rail minister. He was asked several questions on what kind of money Sen paid to the party before the 2011 Assembly polls.

Sources said Roy was also questioned about his meeting with Sen in April 2013 in Kolkata, some days before the Saradha chairman absconded. He was also asked if Sen had met him at his Delhi residence and why Sen made numerous calls to him even when he had run away to Kashmir, from where he was later arrested. Other questions Roy faced included how he arranged for payment of salary to employees of a Saradha-run channel after Sen absconded and what role his son Subhranghsu, also a Trinamool MLA, played.

While the buzz is that Roy could turn into a state approver for the CBI and hand over Mamata on a platter, both sides remained mum. Party insiders believe that if Roy decides to spill the beans on the intricate relationship between senior Trinamool leaders and Sen, many heads could roll.

Party insiders said the leadership, including Mamata, has been jittery ever since Roy was called by the CBI. While his arrest would affect the party’s chances in the polls given that he holds the key to the organisational structure, if he decides to spill the beans, the party would face a tougher time.

A senior Trinamool leader summed up the apprehensions in the party: “Mukul Roy has been the master strategist (of the party) since 2008. He knows too many secrets and could really harm the party if he wants.”

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