Senior party leader Kapil Sibal’s decision to plead for the Mamata government in Supreme Court on its petition seeking an apex court-monitored probe into the Saradha chit fund scam, didn’t go down well with Bengal Congress leaders on Monday, with state party president Adhir Chowdhury vowing not to invite the former Union HRD minister to party programme as long as he heads the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee).
“I don’t condone his (Sibal’s) move. In fact, I strongly oppose what he did and as long as I remain PCC president, he wouldn’t be invited to any of our party programmes in the state. Though I am aware that he’s a lawyer by profession, I protest his decision (to plead for Mamata government),” Chowdhury told mediapersons on Monday.
Later in the afternoon, state Congress leaders also staged a demonstration against Sibal.
The apex court’s order of a CBI probe into the multi-crore swindle in May 2014 had been largely credited to the dogged efforts of veteran state Congress leader Abdul Mannan.
Mannan voiced his dismay on Monday, saying Sibal’s move would hurt the party’s image and credibility in Bengal. “What can I say? We all know he (Sibal) is a practicing lawyer. After today, every time our leaders and workers take out protests against the Saradha (chit fund) scam, people wouldn’t believe us. This will be the fallout,” Mannan told HT.
State Congress leaders literally blew their top as news of Sibal deciding to argue for the Mamata government in the Saradha case flashed on television screens. The state government spent about ` 11 crore to fight the PIL filed by Mannan in the apex court in 2013. Reacting to news of the state’s fresh plea at the apex court, top state Congress leaders said that the government would end up wasting more money in the process.
Veteran party leader Arunava Ghosh, who is also a lawyer, said the basic premise of the petition is flawed, as the onus for probing the swindle would continue to rest with the CBI going forward.
Top BJP and Left leaders slammed the Congress over Sibal’s move to argue for the state government. “While the state Congress is busy launching movements against Trinamool over the Saradha scam, a top central leader has chosen to argue for the party in the Supreme Court,” CPI(M) leader Md. Salim said.
BJP state president Rahul Sinha said, “If the investigation is carried out under supervision of the Supreme Court, all Trinamool leaders would be behind bars. It would also help us debunk the Trinamool’s claim that we’re using the CBI as a political tool to target the ruling party.”