Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said BJP president Amit Shah should apologise for accusing her and Trinamool Congress of duping 17 lakh people in the multi-crore Saradha financial scam. Without naming Shah, she said he should “touch his nose to the ground” for his “audacity”.
“A leader of their party had come and accused me. I don’t want to take his name. He said we duped 17 lakh people. What audacity! He should apologise by touching his nose to the ground,” Mamata said in an interview to the ETV channel.
Mamata’s reaction comes a week after Shah alleged that her associates and “stooges” were involved in the Saradha scam and asked her to quit office if she can’t act against the wrong-doers. Shah had also said those who are culprits will be arrested and jailed.
“They are saying that they will put me behind bars. They came here after serving jail sentence…they took part in riots. I have got evidence of things that happened in Gujarat. My friends in that state gave me the evidence in pen drives,” she said, while asking to cross-check the facts as “not 17 lakh, but 12 lakh investors were duped in the Saradha scam”.
She said her government has returned money to five lakh investors. “The CBI is now investigating. They will return the money to the rest of the seven lakh people. If CBI can’t, then Arun Jaitley (UnionFinance Minister) will return the money,” she added.
She said she was pained by the allegations that she and TMC benefited from Saradha money. “The chit funds were born before we came to power, but neither the CPIM nor the Congress or the BJP took any action against them. Why did not they took any action against them? What was Reserve Bank or SEBI or Union ministry of finance doing? They have no answers. We arrested the culprits, set up a commission to return money, and now we are being put in the dock,’’ she said.
She said she paints to raise money for running the party and even for that also, questions are being raised as to “whom I am selling my paintings”. “I am not bound to reply,” Mamata added.
On TMC MP Kunal Ghosh’s allegations against her, she said “a jail inmate’s statements should not be given importance”.
Without naming Ghosh who wanted CBI to question him, Mamata along with incarcerated Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen, she said, “To save himself, he is saying whatever he wants to. Where is the evidence? There is a distinction between black and white. Some people are trying to make a God out of a convict”.