In a major set back to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday, January 24 arrested one of her closest ally and film producer Shrikant Mohta for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley and Saradha Chit Fund case.
Mohta, who is the founder of Sree Venkatesh Films or SVF is the biggest film distributor and producer in East India. His arrest has sent shock waves across the state.
CBI sources suggest, Mohta was the front man for transferring chit-fund money to foreign accounts. His Production House has allegedly used the in-line producer’s account to transfer money during film shootings in foreign locations.
Earlier today, a team of CBI officials visited Mohta’s office in a South Kolkata Mall, and had interrogated him for about two and half hours in the presence of a team from Kolkata Police. According to CBI sources, there were records of huge monetary transactions between him and Rose Valley chief Goutam Kundu. He was summoned for questioning multiple times by the central agency in Rose Valley and Saradha chit fund case, however, he refused to appear ignoring the summons.
Mohta was taken to the CBI’s office in the afternoon for further questioning and was arrested. He will be taken to CBI’s Bhubaneswar Office.
The SVF founder was questioned for over three hours in August last year, after his name came up during CBI’s interrogation with Kundu. So far he has maintained that SVF received 25 crores from Rose Valley for promotional and marketing activities of 70 films.
Mohta was earlier accused of recapturing a Port Trust land in Kolkata even after the Calcutta High Court asked SVF to leave the plot. He also allegedly got hold of premium land in South Kolkata from Kolkata Municipal Corporation, which cost the cash-strapped corporation Rs 24 crore.
Mohta, a close aide of the West Bengal chief minister, reportedly played a key role in the initiatives taken by the Information and Cultural Affairs Department which was held by Mamata. He was also an integral part of the tender committee for the Calcutta Film Festival. In 2014, the Mamata government even tied up with Mohta’s SVF for Agomoni, a dance drama to herald the Durga Puja.