'Be glad you are not arrested': Mamata to journos after asked about aide under probe

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Feb 22, 2015 18:24 IST

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee shot back at mediapersons on Sunday after she was asked about the arrest of a businessman who accompanied the CM on her Bangladesh visit. "I could also have arrested you, be glad that you are not arrested," television channels quoted Banerjee as saying.

Reacting over the arrest of Shibaji Panja, the CM said: "He was not a part of the official team of government representatives (that visited Bangladesh). A businessman can have cases against him. We do not have any relation with this."

Panja, a small-time businessman who is often seen accompanying Banerjee in various programmes, was picked up from the Kolkata airport on his return from Bangladesh on Saturday night.

According to sources, he was handed over to the NSCB airport police station. A team of Delhi Police will take custody of Panja. They had issued a lookout notice against him on February 19. They were looking for Panja in an economic offence case, the details of which were not available till Sunday afternoon.

Panja had interests in news television channels. A member of the Kolkata International Film Festival committee, he is also believed to be one of prime organisers of the exhibitions of the chief minister's doodles.

The businessman's arrest will add to the embarrassment of the Bengal CM. Senior Trinamool Congress leaders have faced interrogation in the Saradha case and a minister is in jail in connection with the multi-crore chit fund scam.

The chief minister has always maintained that the Centre is out to corner her politically using various arms of the law enforcing and investigation agencies.

Banerjee has been virtually at war with a section of media, especially since her government and the ruling Trinamool Congress are under attack over the spreading tentacles of the Saradha scam.

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