Businessman and film producer Shibaji Panja, who was part of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s delegation that visited Bangladesh, was on Sunday arrested at the airport in Kolkata in connection with a fraud case.
Panja is wanted by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police for allegedly taking a Rs 18 crore loan from Industrial Financial Corporation of India, a government organisation which lends short term loans to firms, after allegedly submitting some fake documents. IFCI has its office in south Delhi’s Nehru Place area.
A Kolkata court later granted bail to Panja, who was initially detained after his arrival Saturday night.
Panja was produced before the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Barrackpore, which ordered his release on a personal bond of Rs 50,000.
Panja’s counsel Rajdeep Majumdar claimed before the court that an arrest cannot be made on the basis of look-out notice for alleged crimes which entail imprisonment of seven years or less.
Panja has been accused of cheating and forgery under sections 420 (cheating), 463 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of IPC.
Majumdar stated that a copy of the FIR or the case diary had also not been sent by Delhi Police along with the look-out notice, which he claimed was mandatory.
Panja was detained by the immigration at the NSC Bose International Airport shortly after Banerjee, along with the entourage, returned to Kolkata last night, a senior official of the Bidhan Nagar Commissionerate said, adding he was later arrested.
According to Delhi Police, Jeevan Kumar, senior Vice President of IFCI had registered an FIR at Kalkaji Police Station in south Delhi on July 21 last year in this connection.
As it was an economic offence involving big money, the case was handed over to the EOW for investigation.
“When he Panja was not found on the addresses given by him, we issued a look out notice for him at all airports on Thursday. He was detained at the Kolkata airport last night. Our team will reach there tonight and formally arrest him. He will then be produced before a local court and brought on transit remand to Delhi,” DCP (EOW) B K Singh told PTI earlier in the day.
The arrest of Panja gave ammunition to BJP to accuse Mamata of maintaining double standards in her relationship with corrupt and tainted persons, saying she moved around with them freely, but once they were arrested she quickly disowned them.
The party demanded that she explain to the people her link with such “suspicious elements”.
Panja, who co-produced the detective film ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’ in 2010, had left for Dhaka along with the Chief Minister on February 19.