West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she would visit Madan Mitra, her close lieutenant for years, who was arrested for his links with the Saradha scam and dared PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah to arrest her.
No one is allowed to visit the arrested TMC leader without permission of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Banerjee also described Mitra’s arrest as a blow by the CBI on the country’s democracy. “We are in favour of taking the struggle forward democratically. But if people take to the streets, I am warning everybody…” the CM retorted.
Her outburst was in contrast with that of her counterpart in Odisha, Naveen Patnaik, who was silent after BJD leaders — one sitting MLA, one former MLA and one sitting MP — were arrested by the CBI.
Mitra would remain on his responsibilities as minister of transport and sports department, Banerjee added. “I shall look after the departments till he is back,” said the CM “He had given me his resignation letter but the resignation has not been accepted,” she added.
Banerjee also alleged that the BJP was using the CBI as a tool for their political vendetta. “If there is no political vendetta then why anyone would be arrested on the first day he was called?” she said, adding, “He is not a criminal”.
“A BJP leader (read Amit Shah) had come to Kolkata a few days ago and kept on saying who will be arrested and now the CBI is obliging. This means it has become a party business,” the chief minister said.
The CM famously said at a public meeting on May 3, 2013, “Is Kunal a thief? Is Tumpai (Srinjoy) a thief? Is Madan (Mitra) a thief? Is Mukul (Roy) a thief? Am I a thief?”