Peeved by allegations that Saradha Group was favoured in getting a contract from IRCTC, a railway catering and tourism wing, Trinamool Congress today claimed that CBI, which is probing the multi-crore chit fund scam, is being used as a political weapon by the Centre.
"Earlier CBI was known as the Congress Bureau of Investigation. CBI has not changed its character," Trinamool Congress all-India general secretary Mukul Roy told reporters at the party headquarters here.
"CBI is not an autonomous organisation which works on its own. CBI works as a political organisation," Roy, a former Railway Minister, claimed.
Asked what was the party's contention about the opposition charge that Saradha Group-owned Saradha Tours and Travels had been unduly favoured by IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) Roy feigned ignorance saying, "I am not aware of anything. The treaty was done before I took over. It must have been done through proper tendering process."
"There are a lot of organisations such as the CAG or the Railway Audit to look into the treaty," said Roy, who had taken over as Railway Minister after party MP Dinesh Trivedi was removed by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Prior to Trivedi, Banerjee herself was the Railway Minister before she took over as West Bengal Chief Minister.
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha had yesterday said here that the Railways itself would not institute a separate probe into the alleged tie-up between IRCTC and Saradha Group-owned travel company as the CBI was investigating into the matter in its totality.
"There is no need for a separate investigation by the Railways. The CBI is investigating the Saradha Group issue. Law will take its own course irrespective of whosoever is found guilty," Sinha had told reporters.
Allegations have surfaced in the local media and among opposition parties that Indian Railways-owned IRCTC had entered into a contract with Saradha Group-run Saradha Tours and Travels for operating tourist services to different destinations.
Former minister of state for Railways Adhir Chowdhury demanded that the CBI, which is probing the Saradha scam on a Supreme Court directive, probe whether Saradha was favoured unduly.
"Whether set guidelines had been flouted in giving Saradha the contract should be investigated and whether IRCTC had favoured it should be found out," Chowdhury, who is at present a Congress MP and West Bengal Pradesh Congress president, said.