Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has hit out at Central agencies over the Enforcement Directorate raids in Kolkata on Monday. The Trinamool alleges that central agencies are acting at the behest of the BJP.
“Our home is facing torture every day. Yesterday also all night. No one told me. I came to know of it from the lawyer. There was no intimation. The boy (Abhishek Banerjee) got back only day before yesterday. Suddenly they arrived at four, five places. I got news that they left at six in the morning,” Mamata Banerjee said referring to the Enforcement Directorate raids that took place on at least three locations in Kolkata on Monday.
The Chief Minister was speaking at the annual meeting of government officials, puja committees and police officers ahead of the Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata.
The Chief Minister, one of the strongest critics of the BJP-led Central government, has always backed Opposition leaders facing investigation by Central agencies. Earlier she even said the use of Central agencies against Opposition will not help the BJP get votes.
Ms Banerjee’s nephew, senior party leader Abhishek Banerjee, and members of his family are under the scanner of the Central agencies in connection with an alleged coal smuggling scam. He and his wife have been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
“Let’s say someone comes to my home. Or I send police to your home. What does the law say? They should have a warrant. They will inform the people at home as to why they have come. If there is a raid, other people will also be home,” she said.
Accusing central agencies of illegal activities, she said, “They are breaking locks and entering. There is no information. In some places they are breaking locks and entering. If someone is not at home and the home is closed… Even if someone is there to make tea, they are throwing them out of the home. After entering there are no witnesses”.
The Chief Minister also pointed to the security aspect of such visits. “How can there be a guarantee that you are not planting any explosives… That you are not planting a gun at the home… That you are not carrying crores of rupees in a box,” she said.
Accusing the Centre of “illegal political vendetta”, she added, “You cannot run the country like this. We are citizens of an independent country. The PM boasts when he is abroad that he takes everyone along. And look at the Opposition-ruled states. They are biting us like ants.”
The Enforcement Directorate had searched offices of Leaps and Bounds Private Limited in New Alipore, Joka and Thakurpukur on Monday in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities in appointments in government-run and government-aided schools.
Sujay Krishna Bhadra, who was arrested by ED in May, allegedly had links with Leaps and Bounds, according to the ED. In a chargesheet filed in the case, the agency alleged that Bhadra was the CEO of the company and drew a monthly salary of Rs 75,000.