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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Saradha chit fund scam: Nalini Chidambaram “examined”.

By Malladi Rama Rao
New Delhi, 22 Sept (

Nalini Chidambaram, noted attorney and wife of former finance minister P Chidambaram, has been “questioned” by sleuths of Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s premier probe body in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam that has rocked West Bengal, Orissa and Assam, and threatening the credibility of Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Bannerjee.

Sudipta Sen, who ran the chit fund and a media empire spanning several TV channels and print publications, reportedly told the sleuths that he had hired Nalini Chidambaram and paid her more than one crore rupees as legal fee.

He reportedly claimed that he had hired the Chennai based lawyer at the instance of Manoranjana Singh, the estranged wife of Guwahati-based Congress leader, Matang Singh, who was a junior minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government in the nineties.

Media reports from Chennai said that Nalini Chidambaram’s staff has denied that she was questioned by the CBI. They also asserted that the legal fee was towards professional advice and the entire dealing was transparent.

In a lengthy letter to the CBI, Sen had alleged that he paid for Nalini Chidambaram's visits to Kolkata and for her stays in a 5-star hotel. He also claimed that Nalini had pressured him to invest Rs 42 crore in Manoranjana's company without “assessing my financial strength”".

But in defence of Nalini Chidambaram it is said that she did not deal directly with Sudipta Sen and that she had only represented Manoranjana before the Company Law Board in a case relating to a splitting of assets between her and her estranged husband. Saradha had wanted to invest in Manoranjana's company but Nalini Chidambaram advised her client against the deal, it is stated.

One report said that Nalini Chidambaram did receive the payment, and it was her fee for conducting a due diligence on the Saradha Group on behalf of her client, Manoranjana Singh.

Five months ago, Nalini Chidambaram’s name cropped up in the Saradha scam. On April 26, the Trinamool Congress dragged her name into the scandal by questioning the payment of more than Rs 1 crore to her by Sudipta Sen, the disgraced chairman of the busted chit fund.

Trinamool chief Mamata Bannerjee asked Chidambaram to clarify the links of his wife with the Saradha chief.

“Caesar's wife must be above suspicion. This rule applies for the Trinamool in Kolkata. Does it apply for the Congress in New Delhi?”, the Trinamool Congress taunted P Chidambaram in a statement titled, “Why was a Chennai lady lawyer fixing deals in the Saradha scam? Congress minister must clarify” though Chidambaram’s name was not mentioned.

Raising a series of questions to the “Congress minister”, the statement had asked “One Congress minister's lawyer-wife draws up an agreement to get Rs 42 crore in capital for a former Congress minister's wife for a dubious business project. What was lady lawyer's interest in the venture? Why was she soliciting capital and investments from Sudipta Sen almost in the manner of an investment banker? Manoranjana Singh had to go all the way to the Chennai-based Nalini for something which she could have got done in Kolkata or Guwahati”.

- Asian Tribune -

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