Three days after BJP president Amit Shah alleged in Kolkata that Saradha money had been used to fund terror, union minister Jitendra Singh told Lok Sabha that investigators had found no such link. Within hours, a triumphant Mamata Banerjee declared, in colourful language, that unpredictable consequences befall those who spend their time looking for ways to harass others.
“…Shanti na thakle kono kichhu hoyna… nijera korte paaren-ni, jaara korchhe, sarakkhon taader pichhone ki kore bamboo deya jaaye, taar chinta kore berachhe… (Nothing is possible without peace… they could do nothing themselves, and are now all the time looking for ways to stick a bamboo up the backside of those who are trying to do something),” the Trinamool Congress chief told a public rally in Jalpaiguri in North Bengal on Wednesday.
“Bamboo jangal-e hoy, ghar-baari toiri-te kaaje laage. Aar jaane na, bamboo dite-dite bamboo jokhon taara kore na shobaike, tokhon je kothaye jaabe… raakhar jayega thaakbe na… (Bamboo grows in forests, and is used to build homes. But they don’t know, when bamboo turns around and starts to chase people, no one knows where it might go…),” Mamata said.
Without mentioning Shah, she added, “keu-keu ektu beshi kotha bole felechhe (Some people have talked a bit too much)… I have no problems with people speaking, if they are speaking the truth. But speaking untruths, lies… Just because I have a channel, I will say what I want, there has to be a limit to everything…”
The West Bengal’s Chief Minister’s extraordinary outburst came after Singh, Minister of State in the PMO, said in a written reply to Parliament, “The (Saradha chit fund scam) investigation has so far not revealed any such transaction where money was routed to Bangladesh to fund terrorist activities.”
The minister’s statement squarely contradicted Shah, who had said at a BJP rally on Sunday, “Saradha chit fund money was used in the Burdwan blast. The NIA is not being allowed to probe the blast properly. Hurdles are being erected. It is being done in order to save Trinamool Congress leaders who are involved in the blast.”
Singh was replying to an unstarred question from BJP MPs Hari Manjhi (Gaya) and Pralhad Joshi (Dharwad) on whether the government had sought details of the Saradha probe after reports indicated that a part of the money was routed to Bangladesh to fund terror activities.
Trinamool spokesman Derek O’Brien said: “Amit Shah has to apologise to the people of Bengal for deliberately misleading them. On the floor of the House the minister has said there is no proof of what he said at his rally, yet he made that statement in the rally linking Saradha to the Burdwan blasts and to Bangladesh.”
In West Bengal, a senior minister in Mamata’s cabinet, Subrata Mukherjee, said the Trinamool might consider taking Shah to court for slander.
Late in the evening, in an apparent attempt at issuing a clarification, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted, “There are three facts 1. Sharda Scam is a reality. 2. Millions of poor have been defrauded. 3. Many in TMC have been found as beneficiaries.”
Interestingly, only a day before Shah alleged that Mamata’s government was blocking the Burdwan investigation, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had told a police officers’ conference in Guwahati that West Bengal police and NIA were working together on the probe.
The NIA itself has been appreciative. Burdwan SP S M Meerza said the central agency has communicated to him that it would like to reward several police officers for their contribution to the investigation.
“We have provided the basic investigative framework to the NIA, including Google maps locations, telephone numbers, photos, confessional statements, etc., so the NIA can take the probe forward. Some key arrests, like that of Zia-ul-Haque [who taught Arabic at a school in Talit, Malda, and was arrested early last month] were made on the basis of inputs provide by the Burdwan police,” Meerza said.
(With ENS, New Delhi)