The Asian Age

Saradha: Foot­baller un­der ED scan­ner

- RAJIB CHOWDHURI

After a top foot­ball club of­fi­cial, the name of a fa­mous for­eign foot­ball player in Kolkata, who re­cently re­tired from the game, has come un­der the lens in the multi- crore Saradha chit fund scam. Jose Ramirez Bar­reto, the Brazil­ian striker, is the lat­est fig­ure whom the En­force­ment Direc­torate ( ED) is plan­ning to send sum­mons for ques­tion­ing.

He is in Madrid now. Ac­cord­ing to sources, the ED found that lump­sum amounts of money were reg­u­larly de­posited into his mi­nor daugh­ter’s bank ac­count jointly held with a fam­ily mem­ber be­tween 2011- end and mid- 2012 from Saradha Tours & Trav­els’ ac­count with a bank in Panaji. Dur­ing that pe­riod, the ace striker played for a re­puted club in Kolkata.

The pur­pose be­hind the trans­ac­tions has cre­ated sus­pi­cion among in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who are not rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­ity that Saradha money was de­posited in his daugh­ter’s ac­count to help him re­main out of the scan- ner. When Mr Bar­reto re­turns to Kolkata, the ED will ques­tion him about the trans­ac­tions.

On Mon­day, re­tired bu­reau­crat- turned- me­dia baron Rathikant Basu was ques­tioned by the ED into the sale of TARA tele­vi­sion chan­nels to Saradha Group owner Sudipta Sen.

The for­mer di­rec­tor­gen­eral of Do­or­dar­shan was the chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Broad­cast World­wide Ltd, which owned TARA Newz, Tara Muzik, TARA Pun­jabi and TV Southasia.

The four chan­nels were taken over by the Ponzi scheme company in 2011 but faced clo­sure in mid-April of 2013. Sum­moned by the ED, Dr Basu, a re­tired IAS of­fi­cer, went to the CGO Com­plex in Salt Lake and faced ques­tion­ing.

Later he said, “The ED wanted to know about Saradha Group’s func­tion­ing and when I met Mr Sen. I never sold the chan­nels to him be­cause I did not own them. The deal was struck for around ` 18 crores with another per­son who had the majority share.”

 ?? — PTI ?? Left Front ac­tivists take part in a rally to ob­serve Anti- Im­pe­ri­al­ist Day in Kolkata on Mon­day.
— PTI Left Front ac­tivists take part in a rally to ob­serve Anti- Im­pe­ri­al­ist Day in Kolkata on Mon­day.

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