Drawing flak from opposition after the arrest of the wife and a son of purported Saradha chit fund mastermind Sudipta Sen by a central agency, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday accused her political opponents of hatching a conspiracy along with the media to malign her Trinamool Congress.
Banerjee, addressing election meetings in Birbhum and Murshidabad districts, challenged the opposition to prove their allegations and said the people would give them a befitting reply "for their malicious campaign".
"The opposition has money power. A section of the media is working for them. We have not taken money from any chit fund. Let the opposition prove their allegations," said Banerjee at Nalhati of Birbhum district. Claiming that chit funds started their business in the state during the Left regime, Banerjee asked why the media houses had carried advertisements of chit fund backed companies.
"There are concerted efforts to malign us. The Opposition and a section of the media have hatched a conspiracy to stifle our voice," she said. "The more the opposition tries to malign me, the greater is the rise in support of the people for me," she said. Speaking at Farakka of Murshidabad district, Banerjee asserted: "We do not buy votes with money. Our work for the people will win us votes."
The Enforcement Directorate Wednesday arrested Sen's wife Piyali and son Subhojit from the city under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. A city court Thursday remanded the duo to five days custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
The ED has claimed the arrested duo have made illegal transactions worth crores of rupees. Following the arrests, the opposition Congress and the CPI-M have accused the police and state administration of "going soft" in the multi-crore chit fund scam by not arresting Piyali and Subhojit. Probing the multi-crore scam, the ED so far has attached numerous properties owned by the Saradha group including those by Sen and his family.
Sen and several of his cronies are now behind bars for the scandal which came to light in April last year. The company closed shop across Bengal after being unable to pay back the depositors -- mainly poor people who, lured by the promise of huge returns, parked their life's savings with the firm.
Suspended Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh is also under arrest for for his alleged complicity in the biggest financial scandal to hit West Bengal.