West Bengal’s opposition parties on Monday tore into the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress after the CBI filed an FIR against 12 of its frontline leaders in the Narada sting footage case. However, the Trinamool claimed that the timing of the FIR has raised doubts in the people’s minds.
The scam refers to a series of sting videos shot by Naradanews.com over a period of two years, which show several ministers and MPs of the TMC allegedly accepting bribes. It was aired a few days before the Bengal Assembly polls of 2016, prompting CM Mamata Banerjee to allege that it was a result of political conspiracy.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury targeted chief minister and Trinamool supremo Banerjee for having earlier claimed that no such scandal has taken place.
“The chief minister, who claims time and again that she believes in politics of transparency, had said after the last assembly polls (last year which Trinamool won) that her party’s victory meant there was no Narada scam.
“She needs to be asked whether she still feels false cases have been lodged against the Narada accused?” he asked.
Chowdhury said people of the entire country got convinced after watching the footage that it was a case of corruption.
“But only the Trinamool denied it. Today’s development shows Trinamool is a party of 40 thieves, as in the Alibaba story.
“Twelve of their top leaders, besides an IPS officer, are accused in the CBI probe. This has besmirched Bengal’s name across the country,” said Chowdhury, a former Union Minister and current MP.
Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader and noted lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya said the latest development was inevitable.
“CBI would have filed the FIR much earlier. But the Trinamool people went to court and gave more time to the CBI. I am sure CBI is making watertight-cases against these people are vital sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.
“This shows the big role that money plays in politics of Bengal, or entire India. We hope there will be no political interference impeding the CBI probe. Let there be a free inquiry. And let there be transparency in Indian politics,” added Bhattacharya, who had fought the case for the petitioners seeking a CBI probe into the case.
State Bharatiya Janata Party president Dilip Ghosh said the filing of FIR was expected.
“People of whole West Bengal were waiting for this. The probe is proceeding in the right direction. People’s faith in the court and the CBI is increasing,. We hope justice will prevail,” he said.
The Trinamool said the turn of events would be discussed in the party.
“The leaders will do whatever is needed. We will discuss it in the party. But It won’t be proper to see it as a mere FIR. There is more than meets the eye,” said Trinamool secretary general and state minister Partha Chatterjee.
“The timing of the FIRS has raised doubts in the mind of the people,” he said without elaborating.
However, Banerjee and her party’s senior leaders have been claiming time and again that the Narada issue was being used by the centre’s ruling BJP to teach a lesson to the Trinamool for leading the protests after the union government demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes.