Upping the ante against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the Narada News sting operation, the CPI-M on Thursday alleged an understanding between the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress to hush up the matter.
Addressing media persons here, Communist Party of India-Marxist Lok Sabha member Mohammad Salim asked why wasn’t the Narendra Modi government at the Centre or the Mamata Banerjee government in the state probing the matter when a host of parliamentarians, state ministers and leaders have been caught on tape accepting bribe.
"The chief minister claims the videos to be fake, but nothing has been done to check if they really are fake. It’s the responsibility of both the central and the state government to send the tapes for forensic tests.
"Why isn’t the BJP acting in this matter? They are indulging in theatrics but doing nothing. In parliament, we all saw how (finance minister) Arun Jaitley kept mum when the matter was raised. During campaigning, they (BJP) will clamour a lot but when it comes to acting, they do nothing," said Salim.
Referring to the multi-crore-rupee Saradha scam, in which several Trinamool leaders were arrested and interrogated, Salim said: "The CBI’s progress in the scam has been thwarted in pursuance of the Modi government’s bid to get the Trinamool by its side and the Trinamool’s bid to save its skin and not repay the money looted in the scam.
"The same thing is being enacted now," he said.
While both Banerjee and the Trinamool have been claiming the tapes to be "fake" and "doctored", Salim wondered if the Trinamool was opposing the probe to save its skin.
"The chief minister has expressed her anguish over the tapes, and not those who have been caught taking money. This shows that for the CM, stealing, robbing, extortion is pardonable so long as her men don’t get caught.
"Instead of ascertaining the authenticity of the tapes, she is accusing the man behind the sting. She and her party are opposing any kind of probe. It is evident she wants to cover it up and would persecute whoever wants to bring out the truth," he added.
Narada News, a portal, on March 14 published a video in which several Trinamool leaders were purportedly shown accepting bundles of cash in return for favours to a fictitious company and one of them asking for the cash to be deposited in his office.
It subsequently uploaded two more videos in which two prominent party leaders were caught on tape — one of them accepting money, the other seeking a "benami" stake in a project.