India MP Kunal Ghosh 'tries to take his own life' in jail

Kunal Ghosh Image copyright Press trust of india
Image caption Kunal Ghosh is still a member of India's upper house of parliament

An Indian MP accused of corruption is in hospital after trying to take his own life in prison, police say.

They said Kunal Ghosh, a West Bengal representative for parliament's upper house, took sleeping pills on Friday morning in his Calcutta prison cell.

Mr Ghosh is awaiting trial in a case where thousands of households lost savings after a deposit-taking business run by the Saradha group collapsed.

Lawyers for the group deny that it was was effectively a Ponzi scheme.

A Ponzi scheme, named after US financial trickster, Charles Ponzi, is a kind of pyramid selling scheme, where investment returns rely on money coming in from new joiners. The money dries up when no more people can be persuaded to join.

Mr Ghosh, who was the head of Saradha's media business, denies any involvement in the scam. He was suspended from the regional Trinamul Congress party after his arrest last year, but remains an MP.

Prison sources told the BBC's Amitabh Bhattashali that 58 sleeping pills were recovered from his prison cell, though it is not clear how the medicine was available to him inside the high security Presidency Jail in the city.

The Saradha Group, established 13 years ago, which also has interests in real estate, media and exports, ran a company which collected small deposits from investors.

Investigators say that attracted by the promise of high returns many ordinary people, particularly with low incomes, invested in these financial schemes. But thousands of households in West Bengal lost their savings after the Saradha Group collapsed last April.

The group was accused of collecting deposits promising attractive returns and then defaulting on payments. After its collapse investors protested all over the state and attacked offices run by the company.

A number of people, including Sudipto Sen, the owner of the group, have been arrested in the connection with the scam.

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