The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Saradha scam in West Bengal, saying probe by state agencies would not be impartial as top Trinamool Congress leaders have been named in the ponzi scandal by their party MP Kunal Ghosh, currently under arrest.

“Since top Trinamool Congress leaders, including the chief minister, have been named by Ghosh, it would not be proper if the inquiry is done by state government agencies. The probe will not be impartial. That is why we are demanding a CBI probe under Supreme Court’s supervision,” senior CPI (M) leader Basudeb Acharia told reporters here.

“It is quite surprising that when (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee was in opposition, she used to demand CBI probe on the drop of a hat, even on a small incident. Why is she so afraid of CBI probe now,” he asked.

Mr. Acharia said the demand for such a probe was also justified as the scam had “extended to several other states including Assam, Odisha, Tripura and Bihar. Governments of Odisha and Tripura have already recommended CBI probe”.

“No action has been taken by the state government in the past six months since the scam surfaced nor have Saradha’s properties been confiscated,” he said, adding that over 20 lakh small depositors have been hit hard.

“The money, hard-earned savings of the poor, has been looted by some political leaders. The state government should compensate these depositors by confiscating Saradha properties and auctioning them, but not through the public exchequer,” he said, giving the example of a similar scam during the Left Front rule earlier when the state government had taken over the properties and auctioned them to pay off the victims.

Suspended Trinamool MP Ghosh, CEO of Saradha Group’s media arm, was arrested on November 23 in Kolkata in connection with the scam and charged with cheating and conspiracy.

Earlier, CPI (M) leaders had said that more time was being given to the Saradha chit fund company by the state government “to siphon off its assets and relocate them”.

They had also said the CBI could be asked by the courts to take up the issue for investigation or it could take up the matter on its own also.

The CPI (M) leaders have earlier met the President, the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister and submitted detailed memoranda on the issue.