GUWAHATI, Nov 26 � Former Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was today grilled for nearly eight hours in the Kolkata office of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the multi-crore-rupee Saradha chit fund scam.
Sarma is the second Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Congress-ruled State Government after Amguri MLA Anjan Dutta to have faced the CBI questioning in connection with the scam.
The political course of both Sarma and Dutta, who were billed as frontrunners for the top posts of Congress Government and the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee till recently, is believed to have taken a serious beating after the CBI issued summons to them.
Today, as per the summons issued by the country�s premier investigating agency, Sarma reached the CBI office around 9.45 am, after which he was questioned by the investigators in several rounds.
Sources said that the former Minister was first questioned by an officer of the inspector rank and subsequently by a superintendent of police and finally by a joint director of the CBI.
Coming out of the CBI office around 6 pm, the one-time influential Minister in the Tarun Gogoi Ministry, told mediapersons that he was questioned in three layers, each taking nearly 20 minutes.
Sources informed that the CBI quizzed the legislator about his association with the Saradha Group and what led to his inaugurating a biscuit factory owned by the dubious firm. Sarma had inaugurated the factory when he was the Health Minister of the State.
The former Health and Education Minister who recently resigned as part of his dissidence against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, while talking to mediapersons outside the CBI office, claimed innocence and hinted that it could be a political conspiracy.
He also said that until the chargesheet is filed in the case, he would ask the party high command not to field him in the upcoming Assembly elections.