In my service days whenever for official purposes visited across the state of West Bengal, I have observed in general people are polite in behaviour and amicable to the guests. Many will offer a cup of tea in an earthen pot in the offices or normal working place with ‘Rosogolla’ and ‘Nimki’ (Snacks salted item prepared with Maida). In Bankura district if one visits, although a lot of poverty can be seen in spite, people with smiling faces welcome the guests. And during lunch along with dal, rice, normal curry and fish curry there will be one time called ‘alu-posto’ (potato with seed of a poppy plant). I always enjoy food in West Bengal.
Anyway, this time observing pool violence (during election and post-election) has very much upset me as I have commonly heard people of West Bengal are known in general as ‘Bhadralok’ (cultured gentleman). The violence has proved that many ‘Bhadralok Babus’ can go at any level of violence i.e. killing, arson, assault etc. irrespective of any political party. And unfortunately women, children and aged persons were not spared during poll and post poll violence. It is pertinent to mention that same time along with few other states assembly elections were held in Assam, a neighbouring state but not a single violence took place in Assam, so “Bhadralokbabus” of West Bengal should learn lesson from the people of Assam.
Then coming to scam we know there are different types of scams that took place in the state of ‘Bhadraloks’. Here are a few points about the scams.
a) The Saradha Group financial scandal was a major financial scam and alleged political scandal caused by the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 private companies that was believed to be running collective investment schemes popularly but imperfectly referred to as chit funds in Eastern India. It is evident from the different secondary sources that the Group collected between ₹200 and 300 billion (US$4–6 billion) from more than 1.7 million depositors before it collapsed in April 2013. The West Bengal Government (where the Saradha Group belongs and most of its investors reside) instituted an inquiry commission to investigate the collapse. The State Government also set up a fund of ₹5 billion (US$70 million) to ensure that low-income investors were not bankrupted. It is pertinent to mention that the scam has often been compared to the Sanchayita investment scam, a multi crore rupees scam that took place in West Bengal in the 1970s, complaints related to which led to the formation of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act of 1978 (wikipedia.org/wiki/Saradha).
b) Many Indians know about the Narada sting operation, which was a sting operation carried out by Mathew Samuel. The operation portrayed many of the politicians who are now associated with the present ruling party of West Bengal taking bribes (wikipedia.org/wiki/Narada_sting_operation).
c) The Rose Valley financial scam or simply Rose Valley Chit Fund Scam (rocked West Bengal in 2013) was also a major financial scam caused by the collapse of a Ponzi scheme run by Rose Valley Group. According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) around Rs 17,520 crore was reportedly raised from investors across India. The all India small depositors association mentioned the amount at Rs 40,000 crore, even though few highlighted total collection was more than Rs 60,000 crore. The states affected by the scam were West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Tripura (wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Valley_financial_scandal).
d) The latest fraud is ‘fake vaccination’. One Debanjan Deb used to give NKacin 500 jabs instead of Covid vaccines and many many people were vaccinated across Kolkata. No one could even guess what has been happening. The CID, police and others could not detect anything as such camp was continuing for days together. A fake IAS officer was doing this but an alert by TMC MP Mimi Chakraborty, helped the Police to take action. I simply felt what the local police and CID officials did. The Kolkata Police arrested the scam master Debanjan Deb who opened a vaccination camp at Kasba also across north and central Kolkata, including one at City College in north Kolkata and another on June 3 (2021) at Sonarpur. All the places are in Kolkata or its vicinity.
I feel all the political leaders, administrators, academicians, NGOs and others irrespective of caste, creed, religion, language etc., should be involved in development politics not in narrow politics. The State has awfully suffered in 1947 and again with so many scams people will suffer particularly the helpless and the people who are not involved in the politics. I request ‘Bhadralokbabus’ “Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached”.
The following websites have been consulted during the course of writing the article: