CRPF at BJP office after attack
Kolkata: The CBI arrested senior TMC MP Sudip Bandopadhyay for his alleged role in the Rose Valley chit fund scam on Tuesday, prompting party chief Mamata Banerjee to accuse the Centre of vendetta politics. She called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “dangabaaj” (rioter) and demanded his arrest. Members of the TMC’s student wing also attacked a BJP office in Kolkata to protest the arrest.
After Tapas Paul, Mr Bandopadhyay, TMC’s leader in Lok Sabha, is the second party MP to be arrested in less than a week in connection with the Rs 15,000-crore scam.
West Bengal-based Rose Valley group allegedly robbed millions of investors in several states by promising exaggerated returns.
“Why cannot Modi be arrested? He flaunts a suit worth Rs 4 crore. Why should Amit Shah not be arrested? He’s involved in a cooperative bank scam,” the TMC chief said, adding that people have not forgotten the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Mr Bandopadhyay was arrested after four hours of questioning about his alleged association with Rose Valley group and its owner Goutam Kundu.
The CBI said that Mr Bandopadhyay took from the group favours such as foreign trips, hefty amounts of money and a car, and helped Mr Kundu expand his businesses of real estate, films, media, jewellery, hotels and resorts. The MP denied the allegations. “It (the arrest) is the result of good performance in Parliament,” he said. CBI officers, later in the night, took Mr Bandopadhyay to Bhubaneswar for cross-examination. Many shell firms involved in the scam are located in Odisha. A mob attacked a BJP office in Kolkata with stones.
The BJP said 15 activists were injured. A few bled from the head as they spoke to the media.
Ms Banerjee said when the PM could not fight his opponents politically, he used the CBI to intimidate them. She threatened to launch nationwide protests against the Modi government’s “vindictive attitude”.
“We strongly condemn the politically vindictive attitude of Modi and Amit Shah. They have arrested our Parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay. He is a veteran politician and senior leader of our party. It is all because of our fight against note ban,” she said.
BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh questioned why only TMC leaders were being found to be involved in “all the chit fund scams”. “She should stop making these baseless allegations. The rule of law is the same for everybody,” he said.
The Congress also termed the arrest a political vendetta launched by the government against its opponents. “From the day Mamata Banerjee held a joint press conference with Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders, a new wave of vendetta has been unleashed by Modiji,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.