NEW DELHI: BJP today slammed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her "political vendetta" charge over action in Saradha scam, saying she is pressing the "panic button" and "rattled" by the possibility that her "own involvement" could come to light.
"Dare does not matter. Sometimes I can say these are politically motivated attempts...If anything which is linking Mamata Banerjee with the scam, she would be investigated and interrogated by the CBI. It is for CBI to take that call and not for me to direct the CBI.
"And it will be determined on the fact of the case and investigating material, which is before the police. I am no one to direct CBI, nor is the BJP. CBI is an autonomous institution," BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi told reporters outside Parliament.
She said that if Banerjee has done anything wrong or committed any wrong in terms of conspiracy which has happened or if any link is found connecting her with Saradha scam "her dare will go away" a because the police then take its course.
Another party spokesperson G V L Narsimha Rao attacked Banerjee, saying she has "lost all her courage" and making this kind of "adventurous comments" without offering explanation for the kind of "criminal conspiracy that her party leaders were engaged in perpetrating" in the chit fund scam.
"She is possibly rattled by the revelations and possibly fears that her own involvement in the scam would come to light," he said.
BJP national secretary Sidharth Nath Singh took on the Trinamool Congress chief, saying that it is unfortunate that rather than giving a sober advice to her own leadership not to react, she herself is reacting like this. "This just goes to show her panic button," he said.
Singh also reminded that it was not the BJP government but the Supreme Court, which had ordered an inquiry into it in May 2014.
In an embarrassment to the ruling Trinamool Congress, West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra was yesterday arrested by CBI in the multi-crore Saradha scam, prompting Mamata to slam BJP calling it a "political vendetta" and a "dirty conspiracy".
Banerjee also condemned the arrest as "illegal and unconstitutional" and said it is a "dangerous" step to destroy democratic institutions.
The sharp attack by the TMC supremo, who also dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrest her, came even as the BJP demanded her resignation taking moral responsibility after the fresh CBI action in the scam.
Narsimhan, however, said that Banerjee is not offering any reason "why they should not be arrested, when they have actually cheated".
"They are partners with Saradha chit fund promoters in causing grievous loss to millions of people of West Bengal. I think the criminality involved in these cases is extremely serious.
"Rather than giving explanation for such involvement, rather than taking action against her own party members and people who actually colluded with the scamsters, she is only indulging in political rhetoric and political propaganda," he said.
The BJP spokesperson maintained that the Trinamool Congress and Banerjee must realise that having power in the state and being elected to the office does not give one a "license to indulge in corruption".
"You cannot really talk about political vendetta and get away. Please give all the necessary explanation. Giving all this kind of talk is not going to really lead Banerjee anywhere," he insisted.
BJP national secretary Singh said that it was under the direction of the Supreme Court that the CBI inquiry is going on and that the accusations of the chitfund scam did not come from the BJP but from leaders of Trinamool like Kunal Ghosh.
"One should ask Banerjee that you were the Chief Minister, when the scam happened under your nose, your own government was there. Why did you not stop it at the first place.
"Then you got the second chance when the scam came out in open. You did not want to investigate because your very close associates like...were involved into the scam. You did not even act against them," he said.
Holding that it is for Banerjee to "answer and introspect" why this happened, Singh said, "At the end of the day, truth has to come out. CBI must investigate so that the the hard-earned money of 17 lakh families is returned".
He also said that Banerjee should also keep in mind that she does not get to do what is the "reverse of Robin Hood".
"Robin Hood used to steal from the rich, give it to the poor. In this case, it is being stolen from the poor and given to the rich," he said.
Mitra was arrested yesterday in a case relating to Saradha Realty on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating, misappropriation of funds as well as deriving undue financial benefits from the Saradha Group.
The CBI had earlier arrested two TMC Rajya Sabha MPs Srinjay Bose and Kunal Ghosh in connection with the Saradha scam.
"What has happened is illegal and unconstitutional. It is a dangerous step to destroy democratic institutions. My government condemns the arrest of Madan Mitra in the strictest of terms," Banerjee had said yesterday.
"It is a conspiracy, very dirty conspiracy, I ask the Prime Minister to put me in jail first," a furious Banerjee had said. She had also said that the Trinamool Congress would hit the streets and threatened to take up the issue in Parliament.