TMC leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay was on Tuesday arrested by the CBI in the Rose Valley chit fund scam, provoking a violent attack by his supporters on BJP’s state headquarters here which left several people injured and set off a fresh bout of recrimination between the two parties.
Bandyopadhyay, the second TMC MP to be arrested in the scam within a week after actor-turned-politician Tapas Pal, was earlier subjected to questioning for more than four hours, CBI sources said.
“Bandyopadhyay could not give proper answer regarding Rose Valley-sponsored foreign trips and he did not cooperate in the investigation,” they said.
Agitated over the arrest of Bandyopadhyay, a confidante of TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, hordes of party workers descended on the BJP office in central Kolkata, chanting anti-Narendra Modi slogans and hurling stones, leaving several workers of the saffron party injured and half-a-dozen cars parked outside damaged.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha claimed 15 party workers were injured in the attack. As the protest continued, a CRPF contingent was rushed to secure BJP office and ensure safety of its workers.
“We appealed to the Union Home Ministry to send in the CRPF to ensure our safety and security. A contingent of CRPF was sent to BJP office to ensure our safety,” Sinha told PTI.
Stung by Bandyopadhyay’s arrest, a furious Mamata Banerjee accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using central agencies like the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department against his political rivals who were raising their voice against demonetisation.
Mamata alleged that Bandyopadhyay was arrested under “pressure from the PMO” and wondered “why should Narendra Modi and Amit Shah not be arrested?”
“I just can’t think that Sudip Bandyopadhyay, who is our party’s leader in the Lok Sabha will be arrested. I also have information that Modi wants to arrest many other TMC leaders like Abhishek Banerjee, Sovan Chatterjee (city mayor) and Firhad Hakim (minister),” she told reporters immediately after his arrest.
“I am shocked, but not scared. Let him arrest all of us. I openly challenge him to arrest me. Let me see his guts. He may silence others, but not me. He can’t suppress our voice. He can’t bulldoze people’s voice,” she said.
“We will fight legal battle in every case. The party is behind Sudip. He has not done anything wrong. Even if he is in jail, the people of Bengal will keep him in their hearts,” she said.
TMC national spokesman Derek O’Brien said an emergency meeting of the party was held where it was decided that all its Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members will go to Delhi tomorrow and protest against the “financial emergency” and other “emergency” in the country.
Several TMC leaders, including MPs, MLAs and Ministers rushed to CBI office to “express solidarity” with Bandyopadhyay.