President’s name dragged, daughter says ‘deeply hurt’

TMC washes its hands of controversy, says matter between Mitra, Sharmistha.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Updated: April 25, 2014 2:54:54 am
Siblings Sharmistha and Abhijit Mukherjee. Siblings Sharmistha and Abhijit Mukherjee.

With the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal dragging the highest office of the land into the muck surrounding the Saradha Group chit fund scam, Sharmistha Mukherjee, the daughter of President Pranab Mukherjee, Thursday said she was “deeply hurt” by the allegations against her family members.

Addressing a party rally Burdwan on April 20, West Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra, without naming the President, had alleged that his son and daughter were involved in the Saradha chit-fund scam. He had challenged the Enforcement Directorate, which is investigating the financial scam “to declare how many crores of Saradha money was taken by the son and daughter of the former Congress leader who now adorns the highest office of the land”.

The President’s son, Abhijit Mukherjee, is the Congress candidate from Jangipur in Murshidabad district.

Sharmishta, a noted danseuse, said she was shocked at the allegations. “As a sister, a daughter and also an individual, I am deeply hurt over such remarks”.

“The reports are totally baseless, false and malicious. My brother and I were never connected with the Saradha or any other chit fund. The way they are dragging the name of the President is horrible. I see how much mudslinging is going on these days,” Sharmishta told The Indian Express over phone.

Contacted, TMC general secretary Partha Chatterjee, chose to steer clear of the controversy. “It is a matter between the President’s daughter and Madan Mitra. The party has no role to play here,” he told The Indian Express.

State Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, however, came down heavily on Mitra’s comments. “The office of the President of India is the highest constitutional post in the country and you cannot drag him to the streets. What Mitra has done is highly objectionable. Legal action should be taken against him,” Choudhury said.

Sources said, the election commission has already sought report from the district magistrate of Burdwan Mitra’s speech.

Contacted, Mitra claimed he had never mentioned the name of Pranab Mukherjee in his speech and had instead referred to all those people who were responsible for giving licence to the Saradha Group. “I feel sorry if the President’s daughter took exception to what I said. In my speech at Ketugram, and also at Kirnahar, the native village of Pranab babu Wednesday, I said the role of all those who held the highest positions in finance ministry and banking when the licences were issued to chit fund companies should be investigated.

“The holders of the highest positions could be anybody — the minister, the election commission. If ED has been let loose now, why does not it go after those people who controlled the monetary affairs in the country at that time,” Mitra asked.

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