Kolkata, January 12: The CBI on Monday summoned former railways minister Mukul Roy – considered West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s right hand man and number two in the Trimool Congress – for questioning in connection with the multi–crore–rupee Saradha chit fund scam.
The opposition termed the development a major "setback" for the Trimool, while West Bengal’s ruling party accused the Bharatiya Jata Party–led central government of using the Central Bureau of Investigation as a "political tool" and threatened that people will hit the streets in protest.
Confirming that he has been called for questioning, Roy – presently in Delhi – said he would appear before the CBI once he returns to Kolkata.
"Question doesn’t arise about any summons but I have been informed by the CBI. I am here (in Delhi) for a day or two, and once I go back to Kolkata, I will definitely meet the CBI people," Roy, a Rajya Sabha member, told reporters in Delhi asserting he was not involved in any illegal or immoral act.
Standing besides Roy – a key figure in the party’s organizatiol structure overseeing its electoral affairs, the Trimool has called the people to hit the streets against the move.
With four of its leaders including Rajya Sabha members Kul Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose, and state Transport Minister Madan Mitra arrested in the scam, the party lashed out at the BJP–led central government for "politically using the CBI".
"The sty ploy of using the CBI as a political tool by the BJP continues. They could not fight us politically in Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections. So now, these dirty tactics months before the corporation elections. We will fight them – strongly, politically," Trimool Rajya Sabha chief whip Derek O’Brien O’Brien said.
"This is blatant vindictiveness. Is the CBI being run by (Prime Minister) rendra Modi’s office or by Amit Shah at the BJP headquarters?" he asked.
Probing the scam that came to light in April last year, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have also questioned many Trimool MPs.
Describing the CBI as a "frontal office for the BJP", Trimool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the people will hit the streets against the "political vindictiveness of the BJP".
"Party workers, supporters and common people will protest against the BJP’s misuse of the CBI in every block of the state," he said.
Claiming that the Trimool frontline leadership was involved in the scam, BJP tiol secretary SN Singh said Roy’s summoning was a major setback for the state’s ruling party.
"Roy was the last person whom Saradha chief Sudipta Sen had met before he fled to Kashmir. So his summoning by the CBI is a significant step," the BJP leader said. Former state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said Roy’s summoning by the CBI "was imminent”. IANS