The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley chit fund scam. This was the second arrest of a Trinmool MP, after actor-politician Tapas Paul was arrested by the CBI last Friday. Bandopadhyay is the Leader of the Trinamool Congress Parliamentary party.
A visibly disturbed Trinmool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee rushed back to Kolkata from Midnapore and announced a country-wide agitation against the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. In her own state, protests would begin from 11 am on Wednesday morning, she said. Party MP’s will organize a protest in Delhi also on Wednesday.
A fuming Banerjee told reporters that Bandyopadhyay and Paul had been arrested under personal instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah because Trinamool was spearheading the movement against currency note ban.
“I didn’t expect they will arrest Sudipda today. May be they will arrest other MPs and even my family members. I am told Modi wants Abhishek to be arrested too. But they will not be able to stop our protest. I was also asked to stop our protests. But our agitation against note ban will continue. I appeal to all political parties to join it,” she said. Mamata also wondered how TV channels of Rose Valley and Sahara were still on air.
The arrest immediately triggered scuffles between BJP and Trinmool Congress activists in front of the BJP party office on Central Avenue. Both sides threw stones at each other and fought with sticks bringing traffic to a halt. Several protesters and policemen were injured and some cars were damaged.
Trinamool leaders including Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Derek O’Brien rushed to the Salt Lake office to meet Bndyopadhyay. Though they claimed they were able to meet the MP, CBI sources said none other than his wife Nayana Banerjee was allowed to meet him.
The CBI grilled the Trinamool MP for over three hours and arrested him after he reportedly failed to provide satisfactory answers. The MP faces charges of getting financial benefits from Rose Valley. He will be taken to Bhubaneswar and will be produced before court.
“The growth of chit fund and money deposit companies happened during the Left regime. We were the first party to protest against demonetisation and hence this action towards my party members are politically motivated,” the Chief Minister said.
Mamata called an emergency meeting of all her party MPs to decide the next course of action. She has also demanded arrest of BJP minister Babul Suprio and MP Rupa Ganguli and CPI(M) leaders Sujan Chakraborty, Mr Selim and Robin Deb for their involvement in the Rose Valley ponzi scam.
The Congress raised a formal protest against the arrest. Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel talked to Mamata Banerjee about the development.