Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP general secretary in charge of West Bengal, spoke to Liz Mathew on the standoff in the state. Excerpts:
What does the BJP have to say about the developments in Kolkata?
The manner in which Mamata Banerjee is ripping democracy into pieces and disturbing the harmony of institutions is a matter of concern. Even more serious is the support that some parties are giving her. I want to make it clear that the Supreme Court, on May 9, 2014, asked the CBI to carry out an unbiased probe into the Rs 40,000 crore chit fund scam. It was the Congress and CPI(M) that went to court. Those who are now supporting Mamata Banerjee had gone to court, seeking an inquiry into the scam. How come the Congress has taken a U-turn?
Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister in the last week of May 2014. What is the central government’s role in this? It was a probe initiated by the Supreme Court. The CBI is investigating it, and will give its report to the Supreme Court. This is a conspiracy to defame Modiji.
As far as the CBI is concerned, it was a notice against an official — an IPS officer — who cannot be part of any government. Many notices were sent to him, but he ignored them. When the CBI officials went there, the local police stopped them and detained them. The officials were later released, but the drama afterwards was shameful.
Questions should also be raised on why Mamata Banerjee did not protest when her own party leaders — Sudip Bandhypadhyay, Tapas Pal, Madan Mitra — were arrested. Her party MPs were arrested but she was quiet. Now, she is creating havoc over a small officer. What could be the reason? The reason is this: when the SIT was formed, it had seized all the documents from the chit fund companies, and some of these are with Rajiv Kumar. There are papers that could trap Mamataji and her family members.
You are saying that Mamata Banerjee is agitated because there is evidence against her and her family?
100 per cent. The needle of suspicion points to Mamataji, because she never took to the streets when her party leaders went to jail. But now, when the CBI wants to question an officer, she has violated all decency.
Recently, BJP chief Amit Shah alleged that chit fund companies paid huge amounts for Mamata’s paintings.
There are reports in newspapers about it. CPI(M) leaders had alleged that the paintings are worth Rs 10, but were sold for crores. He just quoted the CPI(M)’s charges.
The probe was on since 2014, but the CBI is trying to proceed now, on the eve of elections. The Opposition has alleged this is a political move.
It is a coincidence. This is the way the CBI process is. If the CBI goes now, how can you blame the central government? Does the central government intervene in the way the CBI probes cases? You should ask the CBI, why are questions being raised against Modi? They should be asking the Supreme Court also, because it was the court that ordered an inquiry.
The CBI went to court, but did not have the evidence to show that the West Bengal authority or police officer was planning or trying to destroy evidence.
The CBI should answer that question. Why should the central government be blamed? The CBI and Supreme Court are different institutions. Linking CBI’s moves or court’s orders to the central government is wrong.
You said it’s a CBI vs West Bengal government issue. Do you think the CBI’s move has given the Opposition another issue to come together?
Who all have come together? Akhilesh Yadav, against whom there is a CBI inquiry; Mayawati and Lalu Yadav, against whom there have been investigations. Look at the U-turn Rahul Gandhi has taken. His party had asked the Supreme Court for a probe, and now he has changed his stand and is backing Mamata Banerjee. Is this the Congress’s character? Rahul himself is on bail. All these people are under the CBI scanner and they have now come together against Modiji.
Some of the accused in the chit fund scams, including Mukul Roy, are in your party now. Won’t this raise questions on why no action has been taken against them?
Let the CBI take action. Where are we saving them? Let the CBI probe those who were responsible and were accused in this. We will not do anything. If they are found guilty, we will expel them from the party.
The Opposition has been protesting against the alleged misuse of agencies.
What is the central government’s role in this? Modiji is not in the picture at all.
How do you think these developments will affect the elections?
People will realise that democracy is in danger. These parties want to oppose Modiji in any way. All those who are facing CBI investigation are coming together against Modiji. People are watching this, and they will give a reply.