TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her first workers meeting after winning for the second term at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Subham Dutta)
A day after ordering a probe into the Narada sting, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee asserted that her party had not taken “a single penny” from anyone in the Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation, which she alleged, were conspiracies by the Opposition.
Addressing a TMC workers’ workshop, which was attended by Narada sting accused leaders Firhad Hakim, Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy, Mamata said there were doubts that needed to be investigated.
Dismissing the allegations levelled against TMC leaders in the Narada sting operation as an attempt to “blackmail” the party, Mamata said, “You (TMC leaders) did not call anyone on your own. Someone asked for an appointment and then they came to meet you. During that appointment you yourself kept the money on my table and took pictures. I didn’t ask for money, neither did I call you. Why did you come to my place?…You yourself came and said you want to give money and you then try to blackmail. We want to know how much money is being raised through such kind of blackmailing. We want to know the truth behind it. From Saradha to Narada, Trinamool Congress has not taken a single penny from anyone.”
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The Chief Minister had on Friday ordered a probe by Kolkata Police into the Narada sting operation, in which five Trinamool Lok Sabha MPs and one Rajya Sabha MP were purportedly shown accepting money in return for promising to grant favours to a fictitious company.
“Is it that Suvendu Adhikari can’t eat and he needs to take money to run his family, Firhad Hakim can’t eat and he needs to take money to survive? Their families have also faced humiliation because of this. Who are they to conduct such sting operations, do they have any license to conduct such operations?,” Mamata asked.
Mamata also questioned the source of money used in the sting operation.
According to party insiders, Mamata believed that the Narada sting operation was an attempt by Opposition to tarnish the party supremo’s image. “(Narada) was the only thing the party had. Even the Opposition hadn’t said that party leaders are corrupt. The question they had raised is that if they are taking money, then could Mamata really not know. Her image is what makes or breaks the party and everyone knows it,” party sources said.
The Chief Minister also accused the Centre of pursuing vindictive politics and using central agencies like the CBI and the ED to terrorise people in the non BJP-ruled states. “They are terrifying everybody by using the CBI, ED or the Income Tax Department. In states which have no BJP governments they are using the three central agencies against them,” Mamata said.
The CM also ticked off BJP for “selling” the country in the name of “Make In India”. “They don’t care for the values and principles of the country,” she alleged.
Mamata indirectly accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to take credit for everything positive happening in Bengal and “spreading lies”. “(Modi is)sitting back and tweeting about our achievements and trying to take credit. There should be a limit to te…