West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a scathing attack on BJP and the Centre on Saturday over the arrest of state Transport Minister Madan Mitra by CBI in Saradha scam and said Trinamool Congress MPs will protest against it in Parliament from Monday.
“CBI has lost all credentials. It has become His Master’s Voice. CBI has become a political tool. It is time to wind it up. TMC MPs will protest in Parliament from Monday (December 15) against BJP’s politics of vendetta,” Banerjee told a TMC rally here.
“Stay within your limits or face music,” she warned the BJP and the Centre and added “People of Bengal will not tolerate insult. They (BJP) are arrogant because they are in power.”
Reminiscent of her earlier practice, Banerjee hit the road along with thousands of party workers, including ministers and several sportspersons in a protest march against the arrest.
“I have not come here as chief minister but as a common citizen. I do not believe that Madan is a thief or dacoit. His family’s pecuniary condition is not such that he had to take this money (from Saradha ponzi group) to sustain his family,” she said.
Apparently referring to photos of Mitra sharing dias with Saradha Group Chairman Sudipta Sen, who is now in judicial custody, at a function of its employees union of which he was stated to be the president, Banerjee said “If an image is a proof of criminal conspiracy, then the PM should be arrested for Sahara scam.
“There are photos of several CPI-M leaders with chit fund owners. There are photos of the PM with the Sahara chief. Should we demand that CBI arrest PM Narendra Modi?, Banerjee said.
Alleging that Mitra, a key party organiser and also state sports minister, was called as the witness to the CBI office and was arrested hours after, she said it was done following a phone call from Delhi.
“His son, who met him after the arrest was told by Madan that CBI officials were just interacting with him and asking him as to which school and college he had studied in. At this stage a phone call came from Delhi following which he was arrested.
“Madan was called as a witness. If one after being called as a witness, gets arrested this way then no one will go to depose as the witness,” Banerjee said.
Asking her party men to politically fight BJP, the TMC chief said, “They (BJP) are trying to start riots in the state. We will never let them make this possible. What will happen if we (the state government) start arresting them?”
“It is time to hit the streets. I ask all sections of the people including sportspersons and people from the cultural field to hit the streets,” she said.
Asserting that she would not fire Mitra as minister in the wake of his arrest, Banerjee said for the time being she will oversee the departments held by him.
Referring to TMC’s strength in Parliament, Banerjee said two or three of its MPs have been arrested in connection with the scam so that it cannot use its full strength to cast votes against the central government.
“BJP is playing politics of vindictiveness. They are arresting whom they like. We did not arrest a single CPI-M leader after coming to power,” the chief minister said.
“We will see how many jails you have. It will boomerang on you when you will be out of power,” she hit out at adding “I must tell those who are in power – stay within your limits or you will face the music … Governments come and go, democracy remains forever. Those in power in Delhi must remember that.”
“I am now in a position (as chief minister). If I had not been in this position, I would have pulled out the tongue,” Banerjee said without elaborating.
Continuing her tirade, Banerjee said “Danga gurus (riot gurus) have come to power by fighting elections using money power. Where did the thousands of crores of rupees which were used in elections come from?
“One BJP leader (Siddharth Nath Singh) had warned they will arrest Madan (Mitra) in 2014, Mukul (Roy) in 2015 and Mamata (herself) in 2016. What audacity! We will see who stands where (in the elections).”
Asserting that BJP though in power had no right to alter constitution and secularism, she said “The man who was arrested and was in jail for 60 days is pointing fingers at us.”
She said CBI’s image has been ‘dented’ as it has become a political ‘tool’ of the party in power and as per their wish. “Earlier people used to fear CBI but now they don’t. CBI is biased.”
Banerjee said her government had returned money to 5 lakh duped investors of the Saradha ponzi scheme but none since the CBI took over investigations.
Blaming the Centre for sitting over the anti-chit fund law which was passed by the state assembly and was now awaiting presidential assent, she said “Some people think they can counter us by using CBI as political tool.”
Banerjee said a red diary was found on raiding Sahara office. “It had several big names! Mother of thieves make so much sound.”
A day after BJP chief Amit Shah had targetted TMC in Kolkata on November 30, it had hit back alleging that his name was mentioned in a red diary purportedly seized by CBI but the Centre had dismissed the charge as speculation.