Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday lashed out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for allegedly blocking the CBI probe in the Saradha chit fund scam and sitting on a dharna to protest “insults” faced at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
He said by doing so, the chief minister was following the footsteps of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“What is happening? A Police Commissioner is sitting on a dharna with politicians? What is the meaning of this? By sitting on dharna West Bengal CM is following the footsteps of Arvind Kejriwal,” he said at a press conference.
He further said the West Bengal Chief Minister was scared of the BJP’s rising popularity in the country.
Terming the whole episode as unprecedented, Prasad said Mamata Banerjee has crossed all limits. He further questioned if it was a crime to investigate people involved in corruption.
Quoting Rahul Gandhi’s 2014 statement that “20 lakh people lost their money in chit fund scam in West Bengal”, the law minister said the probe on various scams began before the BJP government came to power in the country.
“In 2014 Congress tweeted Rahul Gandhi’s statement that 20 lakh people lost their money in chit fund scam in West Bengal. We took oath on May 26, 2014, so all these inquiries in Narada, Saradha scams started before us,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Reiterating the CBI statement, Prasad said Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar had destroyed the evidence in the chit fund scam when he headed the SIT.
Earlier in the day, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar alleged that Mamata was trying to hide the “raazdaar” who knew all the details of the chit fund scam in West Bengal.
Terming it as a “murder of democracy”, Javadekar said, “never before was an investigating team taken into custody by the police”.
He further questioned if the CM wanted to protect the police officer or herself.
“We want to ask Mamata Banerjee why is she staging a dharna, who does she want to shield? Police Commissioner or herself?”
Mentioning names of a few TMC leaders who had been arrested in the chit fund scam, Javadekar asked, “Why didn’t Mamata protest then? Why is she protesting now? What does the police commissioner have that she is trying to save him and is protesting on the road”.
The BJP leader further said that the chit fund scamster, in his testimony to the CBI, had spoken about a red diary and pen drives which contain all the information about the money trail, and the influential people behind it.
Slamming the opposition leaders who extended their support to Mamata, Javadekar said it was not a ‘gathbandhan’ but an “opportunistic alliance”.
The entire drama unfolded on Sunday afternoon when a team of 40-odd CBI officers reached Kumar’s residence, and a team of Kolkata Police officers rushed there to inquire if they had the documents required to question the CP.
Later, a small team of the agency officials was taken to the Shakespeare Sarani police station for further discussions. Soon, more CBI men arrived at the Loudon Street home of Rajeev Kumar and a commotion ensued. Some CBI men were then bundled into police jeeps and taken to the police station.
After the CBI-police face-off, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee began a sit-in in front of the Metro Cinema to protest “insults” faced at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. She accused both the BJP leaders of organising a “coup” on West Bengal.