West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is not known to be circumspect on several issues, especially when it comes to her personal probity. Given that we expect to hear a clear and cogent account of whether or not there is any merit in the accusations made by expelled Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Kunal Ghosh that she knew about the Saradha chit scam.
It is arguably the biggest financial scandal to rock the state and yet there has been a curious reluctance on the part of the Trinamool to come clean on how Sudipta Sen, who was the head of the Saradha group which owned several media vehicles, was able to build his business to such an extent and eventually cheat so many people with such impunity.
Many of those who invested in the Saradha chit fund were poor people who put their life savings into the company lured by the promise of huge returns. Months after the company shut shop with no explanation, they have got no answers, not to mention any recompense.
The argument that the whole thing is a plot by the Left to discredit the TMC government just doesn’t wash. The Left is undoubtedly responsible for many of the woes of the state, but to say that it is still able to engineer a scam of these proportions to spite the TMC is to admit that the government has no control over such matters.
Allegations that the Saradha group’s media vehicles were set up to promote the chief minister as a prime ministerial candidate may or may not be true, but the ease with which they have functioned even after their owner was put behind bars does raise troubling questions.
Ms Banerjee, at least, owes it to the people who have reposed such faith in her to try and work out some way of compensating the people who have lost so much. Instead, all she has done is tilt at windmills, blaming everyone but her administration for this scam and other cases of gross misgovernance. Mr Ghosh may be trying to save his own skin with these allegations, but the fact remains that there are too many unanswered questions about this issue.
Ms Banerjee has always projected her connect with the people. Yet, when issues like rape in the state have come up, she has chosen to call them conspiracies against her. This time around, people will definitely be waiting to hear from her, irrespective of whether or not the TMC takes legal action against Mr Ghosh. With elections around the corner, it is possible that people will not be willing to give her such a long rope as they have in the past.