A day after the arrest of state minister Madan Mitra over the Saradha scam, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee hit out against Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling it "political vendetta", while the BJP said she was panicking because of her "involvement."
"There are photos of the Prime Minister with the Sahara chief. Should we demand that the CBI arrest the PM?" Mamata said at a protest rally held in the Maidan area.
She said Trinamool Congress MPs will protest in Parliament against the arrest of state transport and sports minister Madan Mitra who is also her close aide.Mitra was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) for his alleged role in the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scandal.
"Stay within your limits or face music," she warned the BJP and the Centre and added "People of Bengal will not tolerate insult. They (BJP) are arrogant because they are in power."
Responding to her charges, the BJP in Delhi said Banerjee is pressing the "panic button" and "rattled" by the possibility that her "own
involvement" could come to light.
"Dare does not matter. Sometimes I can say these are politically motivated attempts...If anything which is linking
Mamata Banerjee with the scam, she would be investigated and interrogated by the CBI. It is for CBI to take that call and
not for me to direct the CBI,"BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters outside Parliament
"And it will be determined on the fact of the case and investigating material, which is before the police. I am no one to direct CBI, nor is the BJP. CBI is an autonomous institution," she added.
Lekhi said that if Banerjee has done anything wrong or committed any wrong in terms of conspiracy which has happened or if any link is found connecting her with Saradha scam "her dare will go away" because the law would then take its course.
Another party spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao attacked Banerjee, saying she has "lost all her courage" and was making "adventurous comments" without offering an explanation on the alleged role of her party leaders.
"She is possibly rattled by the revelations and possibly fears that her own involvement in the scam would come to light," he said.
Opposition parties in West Bengal have repeatedly accused the chief minister of trying to shield some of the beneficiaries of the company’s slush funds.
Meanwhile, West Bengal minister Madan Mitra was sent to CBI custody till Dec 16 by a Kolkata court
Rejecting the bail plea moved by Mitra's lawyers, the chief judicial magistrate's court sent him to four days' custody in connection with the ponzi scandal.
The Saradha scam was caused by the collapse of the investment operation of the Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 private companies, which ran many unlicensed financial schemes in eastern India.
Under the scam hundreds of thousands of small investors lost Rs. 2,459 crore, according to an official estimate. There are unofficial estimates that peg the figure higher.
The Supreme Court had in May ordered a CBI probe into the chit fund scams in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam under which various companies, including Saradha, allegedly duped investors of around Rs. 10,000 crore.
Two Rajya Sabha MPs (Kunal Ghosh, Srinjoy Bose) and a vice-president (Rajat Majumdar) of the Trinamool are already behind the bars in connection with the Saradha case.