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Saradha scam: If we are hit, we will retaliate, Mamata Banerjee tells Centre

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday hit out at BJP, a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Trinamool Congress's Rajya Sabha member Srinjoy Bose in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam.

Updated: Nov 23, 2014, 06:50 AM IST
Saradha scam: If we are hit, we will retaliate, Mamata Banerjee tells Centre

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday hit out at BJP, a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Trinamool Congress's Rajya Sabha member Srinjoy Bose in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam.

In response to BJP's allegations of her and her party's involvement in multi-crore Saradha chit-fund scam, the West Bengal CM told party workers at Netaji Indoor Stadium: "I do not need character certificate from the BJP...My credentials are known to the people of Bengal.”

Calling the arrest of TMC MPs as "political vendetta”, Banerjee said: “Just because I went to Delhi to attend a conclave of secular parties, they took revenge by nabbing our MPs”.

“I will attend secular front meeting thousand times,” she added.

Saying that it is not easy to run the country, Banerjee accused the BJP of instigating “riots across India in the last few months - from Gujarat to Maharashtra. Even Delhi was not spared”.

“Does BJP think it will incite riots in Bengal? We will never allow that.”

"The central government is practicing divisive politics. Communal violence is rising in India. A battle lies ahead. We have to keep fighting. We are not afraid of anybody. We accept the challenge."

"If we are hit, we will hit back. Do not show red eyes to us. We are not dependent on you," the Chief Minister said.

"Other political leaders like (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi are silent because they are afraid. However, you cannot keep me silent. I fear no one. I cannot be silenced," she said.

Taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the West Bengal CM asked: “The man in charge of the nation... How much time has he spent in India?”

She also announced that the TMC would organise a rally against Centre's vindictive politics on November 24 from College Square to Dorina Crossing.

Questioning the integrity of the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) which on Friday arrested Bose for his alleged complicity in the multi-crore scam, Banerjee wondered about the real motive behind the agency's probe into the scam.

"The investigation is not about whom Saradha has duped rather it is about who all have duped Saradha. And about the CBI, I don't have to say anything, the Supreme Court has already said enough about its credibility," said Banerjee asking for the reconstitution of the federal probe agency.

Ridiculing Modi's ambitious "Swachh Bharat Abhiyan", Banerjee said: "First, they should look for Swachh Aadmi. India needs national leaders like (Mahatma) Gandhi, Netaji. We need leaders who are inclusive".

"Our fight against political vendetta has started. They have attacked us, we will reply politically. They want to silence all voices of dissent. They are afraid of me, hence engaging in conspiracies," added Banerjee.

Srinjoy Bose, editor of Trinamool mouthpiece Jago Bangla, was accused of 'blackmail' by purported scam kingpin and Saradha promoter Sudipta Sen and grilled by the CBI sleuths for nearly six hours before his eventual arrest.

"Bose has been arrested for his prima facie involvement in the Saradha scam on allegations of criminal conspiracy, misappropriation of funds and deriving undue financial benefits. He will be presented before a court Saturday," a CBI officer told a news agency.

Bose - also the editor of Bengali daily Sambad Pratidin and assistant general secretary of city soccer giants Mohun Bagan - is the second Trinamool leader to be arrested by the CBI in the scam.

The agency had earlier arrested party leader and former director general of armed police Rajat Majumdar.

Another Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh, who headed Saradha's media arm, was arrested by police before the Supreme Court directed the CBI to take up the probe.

Besides the CBI, Bose has earlier been grilled by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) which too are probing the scam.

Bose's arrest came on a day when CBI sleuths grilled Textile Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee and Congress leader Somen Mitra.

Transport Minister Madan Mitra was also summoned by the CBI but he skipped the questioning, citing ill health. He is undergoing treatment at the state-run SSKM Hospital.

The Saradha scandal came to light in April last year. The company closed shop across Bengal after being unable to pay back the depositors -- mainly poor people who, lured by the promise of huge returns, parked their life's savings with the firm.