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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Buddha-mamata row turns legal showdown

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, February 09, 2013
First Published: 12:12 IST(9/2/2013) | Last Updated: 12:17 IST(9/2/2013)
State Trinamool leadership is set to file a criminal defamation case along with a civil suit against former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday. The move comes barely days after the latter cast aspersions on the honesty of incumbent Mamata Banerjee on live television interviews.

Stepping up attack on his sworn political adversary, Bhattacharjee even touched on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the chief minister’s kin. With the 48-hour deadline for an ‘unconditional apology’ now over, the Trinamool top bosses are now keen to take the battle to court.
Warming for a stiff fight however, the former chief minister posted a reply to Trinamool’s legal notice on Friday, denying any defamatory statement and daring the top bosses in the Trinamool camp to move court.

“The 48-hour deadline for an apology got over today. We will soon file a criminal defamation suit against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee along with a civil suit. His remarks had been meant to tarnish the image of chief minister Mamata Banerjee and we won’t spare him. Legal proceedings from our end would begin on Monday,” advocate Rajdeep Majumder of the Trinamool’s legal cell told HT.

Sources said while the criminal defamation suit would be filed at Alipore court, the civil suit would be moved at the Calcutta High Court. Party sources said the green signal to go all out against Bhattacharjee has been given by Mamata Banerjee herself and the key mandarins are all geared to mobilise legal proceedings against the former chief minister. Representing the former chief minister on the day, advocate Rabishankar Chattopadhyay filed the reply to Trinamool’s legal notice.

“There is no question of an apology. Budhadeb Bhattacharjee did not make any defamatory comments. We have moved a reply to their notice, stating they are free to move court,” advocate and ex- mayor Bikash Bhattacharyya said.

In back-to-back television interviews since the Left Front’s defeat in the Assembly polls, the former chief minister hit out at his incumbent and her government over failed promises and flawed ways of governance. Questioning the chief minister’s honesty, he called for a media probe on the scale of wealth of her kin before and after she took office at Writers’.

Bhattacharjee’s remarks drew the ire of top Trinamool leaders and they shot off a legal notice to Bhattacharjee, demanding an unconditional public apology within 48 hours.

Countering Bhattacharjee’s attack, state urban development minister Firhad Hakim questioned the sanity of the former chief minister and said he had no moral right to criticise Mamata Banerjee.
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