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Misuse of CBI, ED: Don’t think PM Modi behind it, BJP leaders are, says Mamata Banerjee

Banerjee’s remarks were made in the State Assembly where the ruling TMC passed a resolution against what it said was the “partial role of CBI, ED, IT and other Central agencies”.

Banerjee, who was speaking on a resolution in the Assembly against the “excesses” of the central probe agencies, urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the agenda of the union government and the interests of his party do not get mixed up. (PTI Photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Monday that she believed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not behind the alleged misuse of CBI and ED — that was the handiwork of some BJP leaders.

Banerjee’s remarks were made in the State Assembly where the ruling TMC passed a resolution against what it said was the “partial role of CBI, ED, IT and other Central agencies”.

During the debate on this motion, Banerjee said, “I don’t believe the Prime Minister is doing all this (misusing the agencies). CBI and ED are not under him…All are under Home Ministry…all is being done by BJP leaders.”

She said the fear of these agencies were driving businessmen away, and accused the BJP of adopting a “dictatorial approach”.

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“Businessmen are leaving the country and running away. They are running away because of fear and misuse of ED and CBI. I don’t believe Modi is getting this done,” she said.

Read in Explained |The CBI’s uneasy history

Targeting the BJP, Banerjee said, “They (BJP) are more than dictators, more than Hitler, more than Stalin, more than Mussolini and more than what not… If the agencies raid the homes of BJP leaders, they will find piles of currency.”

She added: “The Prime Minister must look into the excesses of Central agencies. The Prime Minister must ensure that the functioning of the Union Government and the interests of his party do not get mixed up.”

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The Chief Minister also hit out at Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who had switched from the TMC to the BJP before the state polls last year.

Referring to Adhikari’s reported remark during the BJP’s face-off with the state police at the party’s Nabanna Abhiyan protest last week, Mamata said, “He is saying don’t touch me to the Central agencies. What has he not! How many petrol pumps, flats, property he has, disclose it. He has become a sadhu after joining that camp (BJP).”

Defending the resolution, which was passed with 189 MLAs in favour and 69 against, Banerjee said it was not aimed at anyone but the “biased functioning” of Central investigative agencies like the ED.

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Opposing the motion to pass the resolution, Adhikari said it was against the rules and regulations of the Assembly. “This Assembly passed a resolution that the name of the state will be changed to Banga. But that has not happened. This Assembly passed a resolution against the BSF, which we opposed, but it has not affected the work of BSF. This resolution also will not make any impact on CBI and ED. The chor dhoro, jail bhoro (catch thieves, fill jails) operation will continue,” he said.

Later, addressing a press conference, Adhikari claimed that Banerjee was “trying to please the Prime Minister, thinking that her bhaipo (nephew Abhishek Banerjee) will be saved from Central agencies but that will not happen”. He said the Chief Minister was trying to drive a wedge in the BJP by praising the Prime Minister and blaming other leaders of the party.

Over the past two months, the CBI and ED have acted on corruption allegations against the TMC government and the ruling party. Two senior party leaders, Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondol, were arrested in the alleged school jobs scam and cattle smuggling case, respectively. The ED also claimed to have recovered over Rs 40 crore from premises allegedly linked Chatterjee, who was a state minister, and his aide Arpita Mukherjee.

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Banerjee’s remarks in the Assembly prompted the Congress and CPI(M) to allege a “tacit understanding” between the TMC and BJP.

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State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “The tacit understanding between the TMC and the BJP is out in the open. It is not a fight against any individual but an ideology. The TMC from the very beginning has been the weakest link in the Opposition camp.” CPI(M) state secretary Mohammed Salim said that driving a wedge in the opponent’s camp is an “old trick” of Banerjee. —(With PTI)

First published on: 19-09-2022 at 17:22 IST
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