In 1987, Amitabh Bachchan resigned from the Allahabad Lok Sabha Congress seat, today Bollywood legend and MP Mithun Chakraborty resigned from his seat of the Trinamool Congress.
Similarly, both Bachchan and Chakraborty held their positions for 3 years and resigned amid the shadow of scams. Bachchan resigned in the wake of a fierce smear campaign over the Bofors gun deal, Chakraborty has quit after being embroiled in the Saradha chit fund scam.
Chakraborty was the brand ambassador of the Saradha Group, which ran a Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 2013, duping investors of thousands of crores of rupees. Four days after Chakraborty’s resignation, party MP Tapas Paul was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with another chit fund racket, the Rose Valley scam, which is believed to be bigger than Saradha.
And on Tuesday, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Sudip Bandopadhyay met Central Bureau of Investigation sleuths in Kolkata after having being sent three summons from the agency in connection with the Rose Valley scam investigation, and was subsequently arrested.
Mithun Chakraborty is the second Trinamool Congress member to resign from the Rajya Sabha. The first resignation was that of Srinjoy Bose, who was arrested in connection with the Saradha scam in November 2014 and resigned from the party and the Rajya Sabha three months later. A third party member, Kunal Ghosh, a Saradha scam accused, was suspended by the party in 2013. He has, however, not resigned from the Upper House.
In a letter to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari, Chakraborty cited ill health as the reason for his resignation. However, political watchers say that the actor has not been the same since his name was first associated with the scam in 2014.
The Enforcement Directorate – a central agency probing the Saradha scam alongside the Central Bureau of Investigation – has questioned Chakraborty several times in connection with it after it found that the Saradha Group had paid him a sum of Rs 2 crores.
Chakraborty told the agency that the money was payment for his being the brand ambassador with the Saradha Group, and as professional fees for his appearances in different events organised by the group.
Chakraborty returned Rs 1.19 crore to the Enforcement Directorate in June 2015. His lawyer Biman Kumar Sarkar said that the actor did so after he came to know that millions of people had been swindled by the Saradha Group.
“My client had paid income tax of Rs 56 lakhs on the fees he had received from Saradha,” said Sarkar. “It was short of what Saradha had promised him. Still, he returned the balance Rs 1.19 crore which the central agency accepted.”
A top Enforcement Directorate official in Kolkata, while acknowledging that the agency was satisfied with Chakraborty’s explanation, said that the actor’s name would still find a mention in the final charge sheet.
“Mithun Chakraborty returned Rs 1.19 crore and we had accepted it,” said the official. “The ED has to account for the money it accepted…and it will have to be part of the proceedings.”
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