West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today blamed the Centre for the death of actor-politician Tapas Pal. While paying tribute to Pal she alleged that “pressure” created by central agencies and “vendetta politics” led to the death of Trinamool Congress leader.

Veteran Bengali actor Pal died of cardiac arrest, yesterday in Mumbai. He was 61.

“They are playing a vindictive game,”Banerjee told reporters at Rabindra Sadan where Pal’s mortal remains have been kept for last respects. “The CBI and BJP are playing a dirty game.  We lost three persons due to agency pressure. We lost our leader Sultan Ahmed (minister for tourism in the Manmohan Singh government), wife of Trinamool MP Prasun Banerjee and now we lost Tapas. All three died due to agency’s (CBI) pressure”, said Banerjee.

Bengal CM also alleged that another TMC leader Sultan Ahmed had also died of cardiac arrest as he was under stress after being named an accused in the Narada tapes scandal of 2017.

“Our entire Trinamool family is grief-stricken. We protest such deaths which are happening due to pressure from agencies. The Centre is playing a vindictive game. Tapas Pal was sent to jail for more than one year without any chargesheet. He died due to Centre’s ‘Pratihinsha’. Their strategy is only to harass people in the name of agencies. His sudden death is shocking to me,” News 18 quoted Banerjee as saying.

A two-term former MP from Krishnanagar and an MLA from Alipore, Pal moved away from films and active politics after the CBI arrested him in the Rose Valley chit-fund scam in December 2016 and was given bail after 13 months.

Pal, is survived by his daughter and wife. He was born in Chandannagar in Hooghly district and graduated from Hooghly Mohsin College in bioscience.

After Pal’s arrest in the Rose Valley chit-fund scam, his family members had time and again alleged that the party did not bother to inquire about him. After his release from prison in 2018, Tapas Pal withdrew from active politics and communicated to the TMC his unwillingness to contest elections.

As part of the Rs 2,500 crore scam, the Saradha group of companies had allegedly duped lakhs of customers, promising higher rates of returns on their investment.