New Delhi & Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Trinamool Congress (TMC) Member of Parliament (MP) Sudip Bandyopadhyay barely some days after arresting actor-turned-politician Tapas Pal for suspected involvement in the same crime: misappropriation of funds deposited by people in the Rose Valley chit fund. Our sources in the CBI say that the arrest of Bandyopadhyay followed his interrogation where it seemed to the agency that he was hiding a lot of vital information related to the Ponzi scheme.

TMC
Sudip Bandyopadhyay

After a lot of dilly-dallying, Bandopadhyay had turned up at the CBI office situated at the CGO complex at 10:55 AM. Five detectives subjected him to questions regarding the Rose Valley chit fund for 3 h. Another round of interrogation followed thereafter. Bandopadhyay did not cooperate with the CBI sleuths in either round. That was when the agency decided to arrest him.

The CBI had earlier collected strong evidence against the MP. The agency had gathered the witness account of Gautam Kundu of Rose Valley, who had spoken of Bandyopadhyay’s involvement in the chit fund. The sleuths had carried out a search operation inside the DLF building, too. Documents and computer hard disks recovered from the location had Bandyopadhyay’s name in several places.

Among several pieces of evidence against Bandyopadhyay was the fact that he had toured foreign destinations on money obtained from Rose Valley.

According to our sources in the CBI, Bandyopadhyay had written a letter recommending Kundu for some favours. He had also recommended several people known to him for jobs in Rose Valley. He evaded straight answers to these questions in both the rounds of interrogation.

The CBI then arrested Bandyopadhyay and took him to Bhubaneswar; 5 sleuths of the CBI are accompanying him. “He’ll be produced in court after 12 PM and will seek bail for him. He has some health-related issues and we will produce medical documents for the same,” Bandyopadhyay’s lawyer Rajdeep Majumdar said.

Nayana Bandyopadhyay, the MP’s wife, visited the CBI office when the news of his arrest was out. Later, Partha Chattopadhyay and Firhad Hakim of the TMC visited the CBI office and demanded that they be allowed to meet Bandyopadhyay.

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I just can’t think that Sudip Bandopadhyay, who is our party’s leader in the Lok Sabha will be arrested. I also have information that Modi wants to arrest many other TMC leaders like Abhishek Banerjee (her nephew), Sovan Chatterjee (city mayor) and Firhad Hakim (minister).

I am shocked, but not scared. Let him arrest all of us. I openly challenge him to arrest me. Let me see his guts. He may silence others, but not me. He can’t suppress our voice. He can’t muzzle people’s voice. We will fight a legal battle in every case.

If the BJP has a government, I have a government, too. I can get BJP leaders in West Bengal arrested.

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TMC workers attack BJP HQ in Kolkata, protest elsewhere

Following the arrest, a bunch of Trinamool Chhatra Parishad activists launched an assault on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Kolkata. When they found themselves outnumbered by lathi-wielding BJP activists, they went back to their bases and returned with activists of the youth wing of the TMC for a more violent attack.

In all, 17 BJP workers have been reported to be injured by the TMC attack.

These TMC activists hurled stones wantonly at BJP activists, hurting a few of the latter. They also damaged vehicles parked along the roads. Calcutta Police in white uniform watched the goings-on like mute spectators. Later, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were pressed into service to control the situation.

A portion of the vandalised office of the BJP in Kolkata

In Delhi, MPs Kalyan Banerjee and Saugata Roy led TMC workers to protest outside the prime minister’s residence. They were detained on Wednesday afternoon at the Tughlaq Road Police Station.

Some TMC workers protested in front of BJP MP Babul Supriyo’s residence.

Elsewhere in West Bengal, the Bankura district saw burning of an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and protest marches in Machantala and Nungola. Bankura district president of the TMC Arup Khan, Bankura Zila Parishad’s head Arup Chakraborty, TMC’s Bankura district president Shibaji Bandyopadhyay and Bankura municipality chairman Mahaprasad Sengupta led these demonstrations.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist [CPI(M)] carried out a procession and held a public meeting at Beliatode led by the party’s district committee member Sujoy Chowdhury and a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Badajora, Sujit Chakraborty. They demanded why the big fish in the Rose Valley scam had not been arrested yet.

The TMC also staged a massive rail-roko protest in Cooch Behar of Bengal.