Quoting the Buddha to someone accused by the CBI may be advice more philosophical than practical but in West Bengal, that’s the only advice available.
From the man whose job it is now to do the advising — ex-CBI Joint director and West Bengal Minister for Backward Communities Upen Biswas.
As Trinamool Congress heavyweight Mukul Roy is set to be questioned by the CBI tomorrow for his alleged role in the Saradha scam, Biswas’s words may not provide comfort.
Breaking his silence since he was singled out to advise the party on the CBI probe because of his credentials — he led the probe against Lalu Prasad in the Bihar fodder scam — Biswas told The Indian Express: “My advice to all those from my party who are facing the CBI probe is to tell the truth to the CBI. Appo Deepo Bhava.”
That’s a reference from Buddhist philosophy. Recalling an incident from the life of Gautama Buddha, Biswas said: “When Buddha was dying, his disciple Anand was crying. Buddha was leaving his body and Anand was yet to attain enlightenment. What will happen to me, Anand asked. The whole world will be dark. Have compassion on me, he said. Buddha opened his eyes and said: Appo Deepo Bhava, be a light unto yourself. Nobody can be a light for you.”
Clearly, the former CBI officer is uncomfortable with his latest assignment.
Asked whether he agreed with the party line that the CBI probe was a witch-hunt against Mamata and her leaders, he said: “I do not wish to comment on that.”
Several years after retirement from service, Biswas joined the Trinamool Congress in 2011 and became the minister for Backward Communities Development in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet.
Top Trinamool leaders say that giving Biswas this new responsibility is meant to boost the image of the party given that he’s seen and known for his fight against alleged political corruption. “Didi is trying to project how the party is banking on an honest former CBI sleuth to get the party out of the muddle,” said a TMC leader.
Another responsibility that Biswas had been entrusted with along with Saradha, is the chairmanship of the election committee that is monitoring the Bongaon Lok Sabha by-poll in North 24 Parganas scheduled for February 13. After Basirhat Assembly bypoll in which the BJP opened its account in West Bengal, the Bongaon election has assumed greater significance.
More so, with the defection of Manjul Krishna Thakur, a Trinamool Congress minister who recently joined the BJP. Manjul Krishna represented the Motua sect, a Hindu religious sect, that has a large concentration in the constituency. Biswas is a member of the community, too. and is expected to counter the fallout of Thakur’s desertion. Manjul’s son Subrata Thakur is the BJP candidate for the seat.