January 7, 2017 2:07:30 am
Days after senior TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay was arrested by the CBI for his alleged links to the arrested chairman of the Rose Valley group, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told her Cabinet that she had instructed the police and CID to lodge FIRs over pending allegations against BJP leaders and investigate the cases, while not immediately arresting or interrogating them.
Police sources said that they will be looking into TMC allegations against “a number of senior BJP leaders” and at the purchase of property in West Bengal by the BJP ahead of the demonetisation announcement.
A Cabinet minister, who did not wish to be named, said, “The meeting was held soon after Bandyopadhyay’s arrest (Wednesday) and everyone was disturbed. She told us that the police had been instructed to investigate pending allegations against BJP leaders and file the paperwork and FIRs in the matter. She also said that no arrests were to be undertaken right now because that would only lead to worsening of the situation in the state, particularly in terms of law and order.”
Bandyopadhyay — one of Mamata’s closest and oldest colleagues — is likely to be named as a “conspirator” in the chit fund case, said sources. Mamata had said that the arrest “didn’t scare her” and had hinted that if the BJP government continued its “vendetta politics”, her government would counter with arrests of their own. She had added that if the “Centre had CBI”, she too had a “government and a police”.
Speaking to the media after Bandyopadhyay’s arrest, she had said that she had spoken to some CBI officers who had told her that the Modi government “wanted” all of the TMC senior leadership, including Suvendu Adhikari, Abhishek Banerjee and Sovan Chatterjee. At the time, she had hinted that her government too could hit back. “If the BJP has a government, so do we,” she had said.
“It cannot be ruled out that if further arrests are carried out by the CBI, the government will retaliate by arresting BJP leaders,” said a senior police officer.
The TMC has already arrested a BJP leader from Dhulagarh in connection with the rioting in December. BJP state secretary Sanjay Singh was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a highway blockade and agitation near Dhulagarh.
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