A day after her close aide and party general secretary Mukul Roy was quizzed in connection with the Saradha scam, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday accused BJP of using CBI to pressurise her party's lawmakers to split TMC or face jail.
Banerjee, who was clearly in a combative mode, was understood to have told a TMC core committee meeting held at her residence in Kolkata that she had not done any wrong and was not afraid of going to jail.
"Let them arrest me and put me to jail. I am not afraid. I have done no wrong. My life is full of struggle," a party MP, who was present in the meeting and did not want to be named, quoted Banerjee as telling the hour-long meeting.
Her remarks came amid demands by BJP and CPI(M) that she also be interrogated in the Saradha scam.
"BJP cannot defeat us politically. So they are manipulating CBI," Banerjee was quoted by party insiders as saying at the meeting which was attended by Roy and several party MPs, MLAs and ministers.
"I am told they (CBI) are mentally torturing some of our senior leaders... To Mukul (Roy), they are saying split the party or else you will be arrested," Banerjee, who was the lone speaker at the meeting, said, according to sources.
"To (MP) Subhendu (Adhikari), they (BJP) are saying join BJP or we will let loose CBI on you... Subhendu, do not be afraid. Even if CBI arrests you, the party will be with you. Be bold," she was quoted as having said.
She also reportedly told Mukul Roy that the party was with him.
Adhikari, a key party organiser and Lok Sabha MP from East Midnapur district, was interrogated by CBI in connection with the scam in September last year.
With dissenting voices emerging from the party over various issues, Banerjee is understood to have said "do not create trouble within the party but try to demonstrate unity."
"Those in the party who have to say anything let them say it within the party. Be open in the party forums. But do not speak outside the party," she said at the meeting which was attended by Dinesh Trivedi, TMC MP and former railways minister who had last week praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and called him a 'man with a vision'.
Earlier, replying to a question by reporters, Roy said "I am going to attend the party meeting. The party will speak its views, I will tell mine. Since an investigation is on (by CBI), I will appear before it when I am asked to again."
TMC spokesperson Derek O'Brien told PTI that the meeting was 'very productive'.
"Inspite of wild speculation everyone was there in the meeting," he said.