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Inside story of how Mamata’s closest aide turned against her

By Newsd
Updated on :
Source: intoday

Once, one of the closest aides to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the rise and fall of Trinamool Congress lawmaker in the Upper House, K D Singh, is dramatic just like a movie.

The 55-year-old MP is currently under the scanner of the state police and investigative agencies with probes revealing his alleged role in a sting operation against TMC’s top leaders. A long time ago, the Chandigarh business tycoon was Didi’s favourite. But now, the bond with the TMC supremo has soured.

Interestingly, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has written a number of letters to the West Bengal government requesting it to register complaints against Singh after investors approached it upon failing to file complaints of defaults with the local police.

As per protocol, ED officials had shared these complaints with the state police but none of these attempts led to the registration of even a primarily inquiry against the businessman-turned-politician. Senior officials of the directorate have also written to the state government citing non-cooperation by the police. But, apparently, no action was taken.

But now over the last three months, the state’s Directorate of Economic Offence (DEO) has registered a series of cases against Singh. The cases are quite serious in nature and most of them deal with complaints from retail investors who have alleged that their money has been swindled by Singh’s financial services companies.

Complaints were also registered with Kolkata Police and the district police, and the latter also formed a special investigation team to probe these cases.

It is however, curious that these cases have been registered now after having fallen on deaf ears. What could have transpired in the last year that the Kolkata police, who even refused to act on the references of a senior investigative agency like the ED, is now pro-actively gunning for a Rajya Sabha MP from the ruling party?

While no one will officially attribute this as the reason, most people in Kolkata’s power corridors must  be aware of it.

“The West Bengal police’s action against Singh can be directly linked to the statement given to the CBI by Matthew Samuel, the editor of Narada,” a Kolkata-based journalist told Newsd. As per media reports, Samuel told the CBI that the sting against TMC’s top brass was funded by K D Singh.

“The Narada sting could have been K D Singh’s attempt at dislodging the Mamata Banerjee government, as he may think the sting would help him improve relations with BJP,” the Kolkata journalist said.

The Narada sting left the state government red-faced as senior TMC leaders, including ministers, were shown accepting bribes openly on the sting.  The Supreme Court has already ordered a CBI inquiry into the matter.

But sources in TMC told Newsd that soaring of relations between Singh and the party is not recent. Reportedly, differences between Banerjee and Singh started way back in the beginning of January 2015.  While no one knows the exact reasons for this, people close to TMC’s top leadership speculated that this is on account of plump infrastructural contracts slipping out of the business tycoon’s hands.

Significantly, Singh whose business interest ranges from media to pharma, mines, financial services, and even real estate, made his first entry into politics in 2008 as a Rajya Sabha aspirant from Jharkhand and managed to get a nomination to the upper house from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in 2010.

But his interest in power game started much before that. A source close to the businessman told Newsd, “Acquiring a substantial equity in the then media major Tehelka was actually a means to get closer to his political aspirations. The deal was rather expensive but Singh was of the view that a reputed magazine like Tehelka would give him access to the power corridors,” a leading Delhi-based charter accountant told Newsd.

And to some extent it did. The then Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal’s proximity to UPA bosses is not hidden to anyone.

Singh’s stakes in Tehelka was one of the key factors that brought him close to Hemant Soren of Jharkhand and subsequently to Mamata Banerjee. As a Rajya Sabha member, Singh soon developed a bond with former railway minister Mukul Roy – one of the top TMC representatives in Delhi.

Multiple sources told Newsd that Singh played a vital role in the West Bengal assembly polls of 2011 and one of his key responsibilities was to mobilize financial resources for the election. It was his performance in this area that seemed to have thoroughly impressed Banerjee.

Soon, she rewarded him with a full-term Rajya Sabha nomination from West Bengal in 2012.

But just after BJP came to power in the Centre in 2014, scores of complaints of financial irregularities against Singh were received by the ED.

Whatever, the reasons may be, the billionaire from Haryana today stands in a murky political cross-fire between the Centre and the state.

Newsd couldn’t reach Singh for a comment.