December 14, 2014 4:05:56 am
Right next to Shahid Minar, a group had gathered Saturday afternoon to celebrate life and work of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. About 100 yards away in the Maidan — near Mohun Bagan legend Gostho Paul’s statue — sports personalities, both former and present, assembled to condemn state Sports Minister Madan Mitra’s arrest by the CBI.
While some A-listers like Chuni Goswami, P K Banerjee, Gurnux Singh and Bhaichung Bhutia were absent, still it was a decent turnout, as the players extended their support to the beleaguered Trinamool Congress leader who has been put behind bars for his alleged involvement in the Saradha scam.
“We are deeply hurt, for Mitra has had made a huge impact as the sports minister. He was always there to help, cutting across sports personalities and discipline. The CBI’s action has been dreadful and his arrest is a big jolt for sports in Bengal,” said former India footballer Gautam Sarkar, also the head coach of the state-run West Bengal Football Academy.
Then Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took over. She thanked Bengal sporting fraternity for showing solidarity. “If you say Madan sought assistance to support a sportsperson in need, I can accept that. If you say Madan sought assistance to revive a sport, I can accept that. But I can never accept that Madan took Saradha money to feed his family,” she said.
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“This arrest has been masterminded from Delhi. It’s not just a political issue. The entire sports community here is under threat. They have (CBI) targeted Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and other clubs. They want to destroy our sports as well. Time for sportspersons to put up a fight,” she added.
She showed a purported mobile clip to show Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s connection with tainted Sahara chief Subrata Roy. “Why isn’t CBI arresting Modi? Pictures prove nothing,” said Mamata. She added that she will take temporary charge of the sports ministry till Mitra returns. Sarkar claimed that the protest rally was a “spontaneous response” against “CBI atrocity”. Party workers clapped and cheered when Sarkar said another rally will be held rally on Monday along with sit-in dharnas.
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