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5 Jan 2017

‘Rose Valley chief plied Sudip with gifts, trips’

T | Jan 5, 2017, Bhubaneswar: Investigators probing the Rs 17,000-crore Rose Valley scam have found Trinamool leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay was among the "influential people" whom the company boss, Gautam Kundu, would "keep in good humour with expensive gifts, foreign trips and offering jobs to their relatives".
"He (Sudip) was part of a larger conspiracy and helped Rose Valley expand business. But he was benefited in exchange," said a CBI officer. Deposing before the central investigating agencies, witnesses have already corroborated that Kundu would often dole out gifts to the "high and mighty, to curry favours with them". An industry insider claimed on one occasion, Kundu had gifted around 30 sedans to different people. "But most of the gifts were in the form of jewellery or expensive decorative items. At times, he would even invite a select few for all-expenses-paid vacation at his hospitality facilities," said a central investigating agency officer.

CBI officers have reportedly stumbled upon examples of such gifts to Bandyopadhyay while he was an MP. "Besides, one of Bandyopadhyay's relatives was offered a job at Rose Valley. Benefits do not always come directly and may not always have financial footprints. We are looking into other benefits he may have received from Kundu," said a CBI officer. The agency have also come across allegations that Bandyopadhyay sent his security to Rose Valley office to receive "packets".

CBI counsel Kali Charan Mishra said Bandyopadhyay helped Rose Valley in return, influencing investors through Rose Valley agents. "Present at Rose Valley programmes, he told agents that he was with them. He met Kundu behind closed doors for meetings. It clearly shows his role in the larger conspiracy," Mishra added.

Bandopadhyay's lawyer Rajdeep Majumdar claimed CBI kept piling up allegations, without presenting any evidence. "CBI officers interrogated him about one foreign trip. He has agreed to have gone on that trip and said he paid Rs 5 lakh in bank draft for it. The amount is quite substantial for a 10-day trip to Europe," he said. But agency officers, tracking the financial benefits Bandyopadhyay received from Rose Valley, claimed more money was deposited with the travel agency by Rose Valley. Asked about the "extra money", the TMC MP said he was unaware of it and could not be made responsible for anyone depositing money with his travel agent without his knowledge.

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