Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said she would resign if there was any proof of her taking a single rupee from the sale of her paintings. She also gave her jailed minister, Madan Mitra, a clean chit in the Saradha scam and accused a former CPM MP of bringing Saradha chit fund group to Bengal.
Responding to a discussion on the governor’s speech in the state Assembly, Ms Banerjee said about her allegation against the CPM leader, “If I am wrong, I am ready to face a privilege motion.”
Ms Banerjee told the opposition, “Don’t raise questions about my paintings. Don’t attack my artistic instincts. I run Trinamool with money earned from sale of my paintings and books. We don’t run the party with chit fund money. If there is any proof that I have personally taken a single penny from their sale, I will resign as Chief Minister.”
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his election campaign in Bengal last year, had mocked Mamata Banerjee about her paintings, claiming Saradha boss Sudipta Sen had bought one of her works for Rs. 1.86 cr.
Ms Banerjee gave a clean chit to Madan Mitra, her transport minister who is presently in custody in the probe into the Saradha scam. She also accused former CPI (M) parliamentarian Sujan Chakraborty of bringing Saradha to West Bengal.
However, Mr Chakraborty hit back at the West Bengal Chief Minister. “When people get angry, they talk rubbish. If she had said I was a good man, I would have been worried. But I am questioning Trinamool’s role in the Saradha scam. Now I know I am on the right track,” he said.
The BJP too reacted to Ms Banerjee’s clean chit to Madan Mitra. “Mamata Banerjee’s clean chit to Madan Mitra has no value as the case is in court. She is only trying to keep Madan Mitra happy so that he doesn’t open his mouth to the CBI like Mukul Roy,” said state BJP president Rahul Sinha.
Mamata Banerjee has said the state government’s bill on chit funds, sent to the Centre some months ago, has been returned with some “conditions”. “We will discuss it soon,” Ms Banerjee said.