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MP's arrest: TMC men attack BJP headquarters; Mamata accused Centre of 'political vendetta'

The BJP’s headquarters in Kolkata was attacked by Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters on Tuesday, after another party MP Sudip Bandopadhyay was arrested for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Rose Valley chit fund scam. The protesters were initially chased away by BJP workers only to return with a larger number of supporters. After stone-pelting by both groups, which injured many, a large number of police personnel were posted to keep the situation under control.

Bandopadhyay was arrested by the CBI on Tuesday afternoon regarding the multi-crore Rose Valley chit fund scam. Bandopadhyay’s arrest comes after the arrest of another TMC MP Tapas Paul who was arrested last week, on allegations that he took favours from the Rose Valley Group.

Reacting to the arrest, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Centre of a “political vendetta” against her government. “All the chit fund companies were started during the Left’s regime but only TMC leaders have been arrested because we have spoken against Modi’s demonetization policy,” she said.

Bandopadhyay was interrogated by the CBI for over four hours on Tuesday. Sources say that he faced over two rounds of questioning and in the first round he was asked about his association with Rose Valley Group Goutam Kundu, to which the TMC MP was not able to give satisfactory replies.

In the second round of questioning he was asked questions about digital documents recovered from the offices of Rose Valley, which mentioned his name. Sources said that Bandopadhyay was asked what was the business that the Rose Valley Group had expanded into with his help, what were the favours he had received from Kundu, whether two of his foreign tours had been funded by the group, and what post did he hold in the group.

Since his arrival at the CBI office in Salt Lake, Bandopadhyay maintained a poker face and was reportedly very composed during the questioning. Speaking on anonymity, a CBI official said that he chose to remain silent in reply to most of their queries and when they told him that he might be arrested because of his silence; he had, with a smile, replied that he was a parliamentarian and was under liberty not to answer all questions and that they could arrest him if they wanted to.

Bandopadhyay will be taken to Bhubaneswar on Tuesday night and will be presented at the court there on Wednesday. Paul has already been taken there and the two then are likely to be questioned face to face.

Reacting to the TMC MP’s and the subsequent agitation, state BJP leaders came down heavily upon the TMC. “It is nothing new. The TMC leaders are afraid and that is why are trying to create trouble. From what information I have gathered, I can say that at least four more names have been lined up to be summoned next,” said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh.

BJP party national secretary and co-convenor for Bengal Sidarth Nath Singh said TMC leaders were afraid and that was why they had been asking for time whenever they were summoned. “Mamata Banerjee should answer why the names of her leaders and ministers are cropping up in the scam,” he said.