Lok Sabha MP and Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam. He was taken into custody only hours after appearing before the CBI for questioning in the case. The scam is being investigated by the CBI as part of its larger investigation into several national chit fund scandals.
Before entering the CBI office, Bandyopadhyay had said, “I said I will come to face CBI interrogation to know what is against me.” He has held that the allegations against him are baseless and a result of political vendetta.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said her party was being targeted for their opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation move. “If they think that after the arrest [of TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay] we won’t protest, they are wrong, “ Banerjee said. The chief minister said several political parties are scared to speak out against the Centre’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in November 2016. “Emergency situation is going on,” she said.
The BJP office in Kolkata was attacked by Trinamool workers after Bandyopadhyay’s arrest. Central Reserve Police Force personnel were deployed outside the BJP party office after ruling party workers resorted to violence. Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien said party legislators would hold a demonstration in Delhi on Wednesday to protest against “financial emergency and political vendetta”.
Banerjee has been one of the loudest critics of demonetisation since it was announced on November 8, calling it “draconian” and demanding an immediate rollback. Another leader of the ruling party in West Bengal, Tapas Pal, was sent to CBI custody on December 30 for his involvement in the scam. His remand was extended by three more days on Tuesday. Bandyopadhyay was issued a summon in the case along with Pal on December 27.
The CBI had earlier accused Rose Valley chairman Gautam Kundu and three others of defrauding investors from across the country of more than Rs 17,000 crore. In its chargesheet, the agency had said that it was still investigating the role of “influential people” in the case, besides money trails.
After Pal’s arrest, Banerjee had alleged that BJP leaders Babul Supriyo and Rupa Ganguly had also been associated with the Rose Valley company, though no action had been initiated against them. “Political vendetta has reached a new low. I will not be surprised if they arrest all our MPs,” she had said.