KOLKATA: The BJP on Tuesday demanded a Central probe into the ruling TMC’s drive to sell memberships for lofty amounts, saying cash donations would amount to ‘financial fraud’.
West Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha said: “Selling party memberships for as high as Rs.50,000 is fine if it is paid through cheques, but if such amounts are paid in cash it is illegal. We want a probe by Central agencies and request the ED and CBI to keep a watch on such membership drives.”
“Let the Trinamool Congress sell its membership for lakhs of rupees, we don’t have any problem, but this exercise seems to be aimed at turning the Sharada group’s black money into white,” he added.
“I would like to point out to the TMC chief that she had landed herself in trouble by selling one of her paintings for Rs.1.86 crore. In its declaration to the Election Commission, the Trinamool Congress had submitted that her paintings were sold for Rs.8 core. Where is the list of buyers?” he asked. One of West Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s paintings was allegedly purchased by Saradha group chairman Sudipto Sen, who has been behind bars since April, 2012, in connection with the multi-crore chit fund scam. Opposition parties had demanded an explanation from the Chief Minister, but she has remained silent so far.
The TMC recently announced that any person donating Rs.50,000 would be given ‘lifetime membership’; Rs.30,000, ‘associate membership’; and Rs. 19,500, ‘active membership’.
“During our membership drive people are asking us whether they need to pay in thousands like the Trinamool Congress was demanding. We are telling the people that we are a poor party. We don’t need their money, but support.
The Trinamool Congress was once a poor party, but after looting Saradha funds, the panchayat and state government funds, it is now a party for the rich and wealthy,” Sinha said.