Tainted MP Kunal Ghosh on telecom advisory panel

Tainted MP Kunal Ghosh on telecom advisory panel
In a surprise move by the Centre, the telecom ministry on Saturday appointed tainted Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh chairman of the telephone advisory committee for Kolkata circle.

Even though both the ministry and Ghosh maintained there was nothing political about it, the appointment has given rise to speculations that it was an incentive for the suspended MP to turn state approver in the multi-crore Saradha scam.

Trinamool soldier

“I have been one of the soldiers of the Trinamool during the party’s worst times and have been paying my membership fees all along. I don’t see any political overtone in this. I will talk to my lawyers and send a reply to the ministry,” Ghosh  told reporters on Saturday.

A senior telecom official also claimed the offer was “a routine measure available to all MPs”. Although the Trinamool leadership is yet to comment on the matter, insiders admitted the timing of the appointment seemed suspicious.

Incidentally, Ghosh received the ministry’s letter the same day he had his bail confirmed by the Calcutta High Court. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Ghosh in November 2013 for his role in the Saradha scam but was released from jail on interim bail in October 2016.

He had his regular bail confirmed by the high court on Friday when his name was kept out of the charge sheet. The court, however, ordered Ghosh to submit his passport to the  CBI and not leave the jurisdiction of his local police station.

Concerns within the Trinamool Congress are that he could turn state approver and help the CBI nail his former party colleagues. While Ghosh refrained from commenting on his future political plans, political insiders believe he is likely to announce his decision to join the BJP soon.

Ghosh was deemed a key player in the Saradha scam and investigators believe that as head of the Saradha’s media business, he helped the group’s chairman and managing director, Sudipto Sen, to expand his business, using his influence as a Trinamool MP.

Ghosh called a press conference at his north Kolkata residence on Saturday and lashed out at his party, challenging Trinamool national spokesperson Derek O’Brien to a debate over the Saradha scam.

“If O’Brien has the guts, he will sit across the table and debate with me,” he said. He also said that an enquiry committee should be set up to initiate a probe against chit fund firms like Rose Valley.

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