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Saradha: Mamata hits back at Centre after Madan’s arrest

Incidents of protest and road blockade were witnessed in some parts of West Bengal after supporters of TMC raised slogans against the NDA government for ‘using CBI for political vendetta’.

A visibly angry Mamata Banerjee took strong exception to the arrest while addressing a press conference, where  she lambasted the BJP for trying to bulldoze the democratic institution. Mamata termed Mitra’s arrest (a legislator from Kamarhati assembly constituency in North 24-Parganas) as ‘illegal’ and ‘unconstitutional’.

“BJP is misusing the power and the arrest made by the CBI is unethical. This is nothing but sheer BJP’s Goondaism in Bengal and political vendetta. They arrested our minister without informing our government. It is a bullying tactic. How can the government be kept in dark over the arrest?” she fumed. Mamata warned, “If tomorrow I arrest a Central minister in Bengal, what will they do? Why no action against CPI (M)?” Mitra, who was summoned by the CBI for the second time, had reached the CGO Complex at Nizam Palace around 11 am in Kolkata.

After a brief interrogation over his alliance with the Saradha head Sudipta Sen, he was taken in to custody and remanded in a lockup at Bidhannagar located in the northern fringes of the city. While he was taken to the lock up, Mitra complained of chest pain and taken to the hospital for check up. On Saturday, he will be produced before Alipore Court, where the CBI is expected to plea for police custody. “He was arrested under sections 420 (Cheating), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 120B (criminal conspiracy),” CBI sources said.

Mitra is the third ruling TMC minister to have been arrested in connection with the scam. Earlier, TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose were arrested.

The other arrested in this case are: former DGP Rajat Majumdar, Debabrata Sarkar (official of East Bengal Club), Businessman Sandhir Agarwal and filmmaker Sadanand Gogoi.

On November 18, the CBI had summoned Mitra for the first time but he could not appear due to illness. After undergoing treatment at a private hospital, Mitra was admitted to the state-run SSKM Hospital on November 20. He was discharged on November 26 and assured the probe agency that he will assist in their investigation, while claiming that he has done nothing wrong.

Before some of the arrests, CBI had also questioned Textile Minister Shyamapada Mukherjee and Rezaul Karim alias Bapi Karim, a former confidential assistant of Mitra. Importantly, the police custody of suspended Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh, who was arrested on November 23 in the scam, ended on Friday.
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