Trinamool Congress drew support from the Opposition parties after CBI arrested its senior MP and Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay in connection with alleged chit fund scam. As TMC angrily reacted to the developments, violence was reported in the state with attacks on BJP leader’s house and party state unit office.
Mamata Banerjee and her party have accused Centre and Prime Minister Modi of using its agencies against those who “raised” voice against demonetisation. The TMC had aggressively criticised the central government’s note ban decision, even leading a march to the President’s door.
“It is the reflection of a good performance in the Parliament (by TMC in opposing demonetisation),” Bandopadhyay said in his first reaction after the arrest.
A CBI statement said he has been charged under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 408 (criminal breach of trust), 120b (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) and various sections of Prize, Chits and Money Circulation (Banning) Act of 1978.
He is the second TMC MP to have been held by the central agency, probing the matter, after Tapas Paul.
Questioning the arrest, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had taken on the Centre saying, “I am shocked, but not scared. Let him arrest all of us. I openly challenge him to arrest me. He may silence others, but not me. He can’t suppress our voice. He can’t bulldoze people’s voice.”
Coming in support of the TMC, the Congress alleged that Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s arrest by the CBI was “vendetta” on the part of BJP-ruled government at the Centre.
“Is the TMC MP’s arrest a reaction to the opposition unity?,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked, adding, “the arrest of Bandyopadhyay is nothing but a step in the same chain of events of unleashing vendetta, revenge and suppressing the voice of the opposition”.
The Congress leadership also called up Mamata Banerjee to express their solidarity over the arrest of Sudip Bandopadhyay. According to one TMC leader, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had called up Banerjee just after the news of Bandopadhyay’s arrest came in.
The TMC and Congress leadership have been on the same plank on the issue of demonetisation and had protested against various decisions of the Centre.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP has often supported the TMC, too criticised the arrest of Bandopadhyay.
However, another major opposition group – Left parties – struck a different note, criticising the TMC instead. Both, though in the Opposition fold, are bitter rivals in their home state West Bengal.
“This government does not have the moral right to speak against black money. Instead of searching elsewhere, they should search their own houses for black money,” former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said.
Meanwhile, violence was reported in the state as alleged TMC men attacked the BJP state unit headquarters in Kolkata. Also, bombs were hurled at West Bengal BJP general secretary Krishna Bhattacharya’s house in Hooghly district last night.
Three men, with their faces covered, came in a motorcycle to her house in Konnanagar Jorapukur Ghat at 9 PM yesterday and started hurling bombs.
Strongly denying, the TMC claimed that no party supporter was involved in the incident.