"Chatterjee had allegedly received funds from Rose Valley. We are inspecting the money laundering aspect of his transactions with the ponzi firm," one of the sources said. He was asked to depose before the ED officials at its CGO Complex office in Salt Lake last week, the sources added.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday interrogated actor Prosenjit Chatterjee for nearly six hours in connection with the multi-crore Rose Valley scam. Sources in the ED said that Chatterjee was questioned about his transactions with the ponzi firm.
“Chatterjee had allegedly received funds from Rose Valley. We are inspecting the money laundering aspect of his transactions with the ponzi firm,” one of the sources said. He was asked to depose before the ED officials at its CGO Complex office in Salt Lake last week, the sources added.
Chatterjee has acted in several films produced and distributed by the Rose Valley, notable among them being ‘Moner Manush’ and ‘Hangover’. ‘Moner Manush’ had won the award for ‘Best Feature Film on National Integration’ at the 58th National Film Awards. A probe by the agency had revealed that Rose Valley, on papers, allegedly undervalued the production cost of ‘Hangover’ and used depositors’ money to fund the film.
Earlier, the sources had said that the agency wanted to question Chatterjee about Rs 2.75 crore received by his company, Idea Locations and Production Pvt Ltd, from the Rose Valley Group between 2010 and 2011. Of this, Chatterjee is suspected to have received about Rs 23.5 lakh.
On Thursday, actor Rituparna Sengupta was interrogated at the ED’s Salt Lake office. The agency, which is investigating the chit fund case, had summoned Sengupta with regard to the money her company allegedly received from the Rose Valley Group.
The actor starred in ‘Chander Bari’ and ‘Biye Not Out’, two films produced by Rose Valley’s entertainment firms.
Earlier this year, noted Bengal film producer Shrikant Mohta was arrested and sent to jail in the course of investigation into the scam.
The ED had also interrogated senior Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra in connection with the ponzi scam.
Mitra, who was the then state transport minister, was arrested in 2014 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged connection with the Saradha ponzi scam. He served a jail term of over 21 months before getting bail.
According to ED estimates, the Rose Valley scandal is at least five times the Saradha scam.
The agency had in 2015 arrested its chairman Gautam Kundu and attached his assets worth Rs 2,300 crore, including hotels and resorts. The group had reportedly floated 27 companies to allegedly run the chit fund operations.
The ED has said that the scheme floated by the group promised investors in various states inflated returns between eight and 27 per cent. The company had allegedly pledged astronomical returns to depositors on land and assets, and bookings done in the real estate sector. It has also been accused of making “cross investments” in its various sister firms to suppress its liabilities towards investors.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had probed the company before the ED and the CBI registered cases against the group. The ED has pegged the total volume of the alleged irregularities at Rs 15,000 crore, including interest and penalties.