Mamata Banerjee's attack against the CBI for conducting "politically motivated" investigations against her party leaders may soon begin to appear baseless as the investigating agency is all set to summon some big names in the Bengali film industry, none of who have direct affiliations to political parties.
A highly billed National Award winning Bengali film actress -- who has appeared in a couple of Hindi films as well -- is reportedly under CBI's scanner. The names of two to three producers from the industry have also made it to the CBI's list of suspects in the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
HuffPost India is withholding the name of the actress because the CBI has not summoned her yet. The actress does not have political affiliations, but was once said to have been on the verge of joining a national political party. However, her attempt of joining politics actively had not materialised due to some misunderstanding between her and the party leaders.
Three producers who have big investments in Bengali films are also under the CBI scanner. These three producers often work together and invest in the same films. As a result, they also pretty much call the shots in Tollywood. (The Bengali film industry is popularly known as Tollywood as most of the studios are located in Tollygunge area of Kolkata.) These producers are also said to be close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. They not only have production companies that fund Bengali films, but also have other businesses in West Bengal and other states.
The chief minister takes a lot of interest in the Bengali film industry, and often showers the actors and producers with gifts and titles. The West Bengal government confers annual awards on actors, directors, producers, playback singers of the Bengali film industry, apart from organising the Kolkata International Film Festival where many from the Bengali film fraternity are officials.
Rose Valley has allegedly invested huge amounts of money into various Bengali films that never saw the light of day (though some of the films they invested in were released). It is also alleged that the company's owner Gautam Kundu had siphoned money in some projects in Singapore through the actress and her husband.
When these people are questioned, Banerjee's claim that the CBI has only been arresting her party's members, will surely ring hollow. In the past two weeks, two Trinamool Congress MPs – Tapas Pal and Sudip Bandopadhyay – were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam. The CBI, in its chargesheet, has charged the chit fund of defrauding investors of Rs 17,000 crore.