KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday hit the streets to protest the arrest of her minister Madan Mitra in the Saradha scam, and wondered if Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be arrested for the Sahara scandal as he was photographed with the Sahara group chief who is now behind bars.
"A red diary was obtained after raiding the Sahara office. It had several big names. Empty vessels sound much. There are images of the prime minister with the Sahara chief (Subrata Roy). Should we arrest the prime minister?" Banerjee asked, as she led a demonstration protesting against the arrest of Transport and Sports Minister Mitra.
"There are images of several CPI-M leaders with chit fund owners. If an image is a proof of criminal conspiracy, then the prime minister should be arrested for the Sahara scam," Banerjee said, in a reference to video footage of Saradha group programmes where Mitra was seen praising purported graft mastermind Sudipto Sen.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party, Banerjee said: "The BJP knows it cannot fight Trinamool politically. They are using the CBI to counter us. Common people have hit the streets today to protest against the politics of vendetta by the BJP."
In an apparent indication of the pressure the Trinamool was facing after Mitra's arrest by the CBI, Banerjee said: "Time does not wait for anyone. We have to act as per the need of the hour."
Issuing a warning to the BJP-led central government, Banerjee said: "I must tell those who are in power - Stay within your limits or you will face the music."
Trying to whip up local sentiments, Banerjee accused the BJP and the CBI of efforts to "destroy the sports infrastructure in Bengal" by targeting the iconic football clubs.
The chief minister said culture and sports in Bengal were under threat.
"Mohun Bagan, East Bengal are under threat. It is time to hit the streets. I ask the sportspersons to hit the streets. Our support is with you," she said.
The CBI has arrested East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar and Trinamool Congress parliamentarian and Mohun Bagan assistant general secretary Srinjoy Bose.
The probe agency also questioned other office bearers of the two clubs, besides closing some bank accounts of the two football outfits.
The protest rally started at 1 p.m. at the base of the statue of legendary footballer Gostho Pal. Several prominent sportspersons were present.