THE WAR of words between Trinamool Congress and BJP in the state seems to be unrelenting with BJP MP from Asansol and Union Minister Babul Supriyo on Tuesday sending defamation notices to Trinamool leaders Saugata Ray, Tapas Paul and Mahua Moitra for accusing him of being involved in the Rose Valley chit fund scam. This came days after Trinamool MLA from Karimpur, Mahua Moitra, filed a complaint under Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC on January 4 against Supriyo for allegedly insulting her on a television show. Along with Moitra and Roy, Paul — arrested in the Rose Valley case — had accused Supriyo of having links with the scam.
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Sources said that during a TV programme on January 3, Supriyo had tried to make fun of Moitra’s name by connecting it with a local drink. “Mahua, are you (drunk) on Mahua?” he had reportedly asked her. Mahua is the name of a drink of tribals in Jangalmahal area.
“Yes, a complaint was lodged on January 4 against Babul Supriyo. We have sent a notice to Babul Supriyo today, asking him to appear before the Kolkata Police on January 12,” Joint CP (Crime) Vishal Garg said.
When contacted, Moitra said: “I had never met Babul Supriyo before. On January 3, we appeared on a TV channel for a discussion on ‘Congress and Trinamool alleging political vendetta by Modi’. I was representing my party as an MLA, general secretary and national spokesperson. Babul made several unsubstantiated statement against my party… At the end of the show, he said twice — “Mahua are you on Mahua”… He meant I was drunk.”
“Mahua is a country alcohol used by tribals. I found this comment extremely derogatory, even the anchor of the show asked Supriyo not to make any personal comment. Since the programme was about to end, I couldn’t respond. I then decided to lodge a complaint against him,” she added.
Moitra, whose statement has been has been recorded before the magistrate), said: “The comment made on live national television channel claimed that I was drunk. These words have caused me great distress… hence, I want legal action against him.”
Asked if complaint against Supriyo was politically influenced, Moitra said, “I have live footage… it’s not a false allegation. Whether the complaint was lodged out of love, hatred or jealousy is irrelevant. I was a victim of a derogatory remark and legally, I have rights to fight.”
Supriyo, who on Tuesday moved the Tis Hazaari court in New Delhi, said: “Moitra was making false allegations on the TV show… she claimed I had siphoned off money outside India. She was speaking without logic. In jest, I said her name twice. If she found it derogatory, she is free to approach the court. I am ready to cooperate with the police. I don’t think it was derogatory. In fact, I believe she is too loud and was not ready to listen to anyone in the programme… After that programme, I decided to file a defamation suit against Mahua, about whom I did not know anything before.”
“I have also sent defamation notices to Sougata Roy and Tapas Paul, who have dragged my name in the Rose valley scam without any evidence… This, I had decided long ago… since I was being dragged into the matter unnecessarily,” he added.
Woman accuses Rose Valley of fraud
A resident of Kolkata on Tuesday filed a complaint with the police alleging that she had invested Rs 4.11 lakh in Rose Valley but never got back her money back. The complainant, Sikha Maity, from Parnashree, has approached the Behala police. “We received a complaint and intimated the CBI. The CBI is already investigating the case. Since people don’t know how to directly approach CBI, they generally come to the local police station. Even in the past, we have intimated CBI whenever we have received such complaints,” Joint CP (Crime) Vishal Garg said.