In his first reaction after being arrested, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said it was a reflection of his party’s good performance in Parliament against demonetization. “It is the reflection of a good performance in the Parliament (by TMC in opposing demonetization),” Bandopadhyay told reporters while being whisked away to the airport here. Bandopadhyay, who was arrested this afternoon by CBI in connection with the Rose Valley scam, was taken to the airport on way to Bhubaneswar for his production in a court there.
Before that, a routine medical check up was conducted on the TMC leader.
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. Bandopadhyay arrived at the CBI office here after being summoned by the investigation agency. He was arrested after four hours of grilling.
He would be interrogated afresh by CBI in Bhubaneswar in the case which was lodged in the Odisha capital. Another TMC MP Tapas Pal, arrested in the same case on December 30, is under CBI custody in Bhubaneswar.
Congress comes out in support
The Congress alleged that TMC Parliamentary Party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s arrest by the CBI was “vendetta unleashed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his detractors” and wondered if it was in reaction to the “opposition unity”.
“Is the TMC MP’s arrest a reaction to the opposition unity?,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “unleashing vendetta” on his political opponents, he said, “Everyday we see the manner and fashion in which the CBI, ED and other investigating agencies are subjected to pressure by none less than the prime minister and his office to unleash vendetta on his political opponents and on anyone who raises a voice.” Surjewala alleged that from the day Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee addressed a joint press conference with Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders, “a new wave of vendetta has been unleashed by Modiji”.
Recalling that the day TMC MP Tapas Pal was arrested, he had named Union minister Babul Supriyo for his “role” in the chit fund scam, the Congress leader asked, “Did Modiji arrest Babul Supriyo? Did the CBI even call him for questioning?” “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. Modiji must realise that any dictatorial attempt of this nature has always been repelled by the country as also by the very fundamentals of our democracy.”
The CBI today arrested Bandyopadhyay in connection with the alleged Rose Valley chit fund scam, the second such arrest of a TMC MP within a week.
Bandyopadhyay, who arrived at the CBI’s Kolkata office at around 11 am, was subjected to more than four hours of interrogation, after which he was arrested.
The TMC MP was summoned thrice earlier by the central investigating agency.
The Congress leadership also called up Mamata Banerjee to express their solidarity over the arrest of Sudip Bandopadhyay. According to TMC insiders, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had called up Banerjee just after the news of Bandopadhyay’s arrest came in. Asked what transpired in the conversation, a senior TMC leader said, “Back channel talks are on with all opposition parties. We need to put up a strong opposition against this undemocratic and vindictive BJP government.” The TMC and Congress leadership have been on the same plank on the issue of demonetizaitonand had protested against various decisions of the Centre.
Banerjee along with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and regional parties have sought to put up a united face against demonetizaitonby demanding resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After the meeting of eight parties and their joint press conference against demonetizaitonin New Delhi on December 27, Banerjee vowed to rope in more parties and take on the government in a united manner.
The thaw in ties of Congress and TMC came months after the CPI(M) and Congress had struck an alliance in the last West Bengal Assembly polls, which Banerjee had termed as “unethical and immoral”.