KOLKATA: Alleging that involvement of Trinamool Congress leaders led to the proliferation of the multi-crore-rupee Saradha chit fund scam, BJP president Amit Shah Sunday challenged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to prove that her leaders arrested by the CBI were innocent.
Addressing a rally in the city for which the Banerjee administration had initially denied permission, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief also claimed that Saradha money was used in the Oct 2 Burdwan blast in which Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh was involved.
"Mamata didi says the CBI has framed Trinamool leaders. Whether they have been framed or not that is for the court to decide. But I challenge didi, do you have the guts to claim that your party leaders who have been arrested are innocent?" asked Shah.
Besides suspended Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh, who was arrested by police, fellow party parliamentarian Srinjoy Bose and party leader and former IPS officer Rajat Majumdar were arrested by the CBI for their alleged complicity in the scam.
"Didi, did your leaders not benefit from the Saradha scam? If yes, how can you claim that they are innocent. It's your leaders whose involvement led to the proliferation of the scam," Shah said.
The BJP chief also questioned the closure of the Justice Shyamal Sen Commission set up by the Banerjee government to probe the scam.
"Didi, please tell us why are you shielding the scamsters? You also need to tell who bought your paintings as well as why was the Shyamal Sen Commission closed?
"Didi, can you say that Saradha money was not used by militants in the Burdwan blast?" Shah asked.
During the Lok Sabha poll campaigns, the then BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi too had raised the issue of Banerjee's painting, one of which he claimed was sold for Rs.1.86 crore.
'Countdown for Trinamool has begun'
Asserting that time has come for "uprooting" the Trinamool from Bengal, Shah also wondered why Banerjee, who sat on a fast during the anti-land acquisition movement against the erstwhile Left Front regime, was not bothered by the fate of the 17 lakh depositors ruined by the scam.
"Didi, are you not moved by the condition of the 17 lakh depositors who were ruined by the scam in which your leaders are involved? Is it because of their involvement that you have not hit the streets like you did during your Singur movement?" Shah asked.
Claiming from "industry to law and order, from infrastructure to employment, Bengal has regressed under Mamata regime," Shah said: "Mamata Didi will never allow the development being ushered in by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bengal."
"So, we have to uproot the Trinamool and bring in BJP. The countdown for Trinamool has begun and let us start the beginning of Trinamool's end with the 2015 municipal polls," said Shah.
The rally was attended by a host of party leaders, including Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo.
"During the Lok Sabha polls, Modi's slogan was Congress-free India and now the slogan is Trinamool-free Bengal," said Shah, who targeted Banerjee through his speech.
Throwing a challenge to Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool supremo, he said: "Mamata Didi, recently you had asked who is Amit Shah, if you are listening, then let me tell you I am Amit Shah and I am here to uproot Trinamool from Bengal."
Urging people to bring in BJP to power in Bengal, Shah added: "If you want to join Modiji's bandwagon of development, if you want industry, employment and law and order, then vote for BJP and uproot the Trinamool."