Santanu Ghosh, the chairperson of computer manufacturing company, Xenitis Group, who was apprehended by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was remanded by a city court to five days of custody of the central agency here on Wednesday. The ED is probing the Saradha scam.
Mr Ghosh was arrested from a south Kolkata building late on Tuesday night for allegedly selling his companies to scam-tainted chairman of Saradha Group Sudipta Sen. Incidentally, Mr Ghosh was one of the favourite industrialists of some of the top leaders of the Left Front government. He made many public appearances with the top Left Front ministers and MPs, who promoted his projects openly. With his arrest, Mr Ghosh became the first person outside the tainted Saradha Group to be arrested in the multi-crore scam.
According to officials of the ED, Saradha Group chairman and managing director Sudipta Sen had told investigators of his business dealings with Mr Ghosh, who also owned a couple of Bengali news channels till few years back.
Officials of the central investigation agency also pointed out that they had issued summons to Mr. Ghosh to which he did not respond. Soon, ED lawyers sought his custody to find out about the money that he allegedly received from Sudipta Sen, who made his wealth by raising money from small investors in the State.
Mr. Sen used part of public money to buy to companies from Santanu Ghosh – the bike manufacturing company Global Automobiles and the television channel. The lawyers claimed that Mr. Ghosh received around Rs. 50 crore for selling his motorbike manufacturing company.
The city-based businessman of Xenitis used to sell computers branded as Aamar PC, and also launched arguably “country’s cheapest motorbike”. The businessman’s name had figured in the letter written by Sudipta Sen to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) days before his arrest in April 2013.
In the letter, the Saradha chief had claimed that Mr. Ghosh had “moulded” him to buy Global Automobiles with the assurance that the company could generate a huge amount.
Mr Sen has also said in the letter that for one-and-a-half years, he “repeatedly asked for papers and documents but they (Santanu) did not support” him (Sudipta) with any paper.
“Apart from banks and Shantanu Ghosh, I have paid not less than Rs. 20 crore for salary of the existing staff, canteen expenses, huge outstanding from vendors, dealers,,,” he said in his letter.
Mr Sen who is in the CBI custody expressed satisfaction over the arrest. “”I am very happy with the arrest. I have already named many. I intend to name a few more soon,” he told journalists late on Tuesday evening.