On CBI Summons, Trinamool’s Abhishek Banerjee’s ‘Two Stages’ Dare
Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee has had to suspend his 60-day statewide yatra and return to Kolkata after the CBI summoned him for questioning on Saturday. Mr Banerjee said he would cooperate with the investigation.Addressing a rally in Bankura, before leaving for Kolkata, Mr Banerjee targeted the BJP and central agencies.”Yesterday, the high court passed an order and I said whenever they call me, I will go. I expected they will give me a 48-hour notice at least. When people are seen taking money on camera, they are not called and even the high court is not bothered. One person is being forced to name Abhishek Banerjee by the ED. Why have they forced him to take Abhishek Banerjee’s name? That’s why he must be called. If you have the guts, you question me tomorrow in front of the media. Do they have the guts to question me in front of the people in a janata durbar? Make two stages. One for questioning and one for the gallows. If during questioning can prove even an ounce to prove that because of me Bengal’s name or image has been tarnished, then send me to gallows and set an example. I am giving you a challenge,” Mr Banerjee said.Mr Banerjee also accused the agencies of targeting his family and dared the CBI to arrest him.”They have put the ED and CBI behind me for three years. Whether it’s me or anyone around me, no one has been spared. Even my lawyers have faced ED and CBI. Even my wife. Everyone who is close to me, including my secretary, has been summoned by the ED because they want to tame me. Even if you cut off my neck, I will say joy Bangla. I am challenging you, if you have the power then arrest me. I am Abhishek Banerjee. I will say it eye to eye. From this stage, I am challenging the CBI that if you have the power, why keep calling me every now and then? For three to four years, you are conducting a probe. Drama? If I am guilty, arrest me. Take me to the gallows,” Mr Banerjee said.He accused the CBI of going soft on those who have joined the BJP, in an apparent dig at Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari.”The CBI was conducting a probe into the Tagore’s Nobel medallion being stolen. For 15 years they are conducting the probe. In the Sarada probe, they are conducting a probe for 10 years. And when the thieves go and join the BJP, then everything is clean. They are innocent. Earlier thieves used to go to jail. Now there is a new tradition, they go to the BJP,” Mr Banerjee said.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also threw her weight behind the party National General Secretary as she filled in for her nephew and addressed a rally virtually.”You know Abhishek Banerjee was supposed to address this meeting, but the BJP is very scared of him, and they try to intimidate him. They think of defaming the Trinamool by calling us thieves – the party that I started with your blessings. Today the party is in power, and you know how we stand by the people and do politics by providing social security to people. Some people say that Abhishek Banerjee is Mamata Banerjee’s relative and that’s why he is given so much importance. Relatives don’t automatically become leaders. The people are our relatives. The Trinamool Congress family is the family of the people. We have a blood bond with the people. One day we will go. New people have to be brought in. We may be around for a few more years,” she said.”…Till the time we don’t remove the BJP from India, politically, from the seat of power in Delhi, till that day our fight will not stop. Our movement will not stop. Our campaign will go on,” she added.The CBI summons to Mr Banerjee came after the Calcutta High Court refused to grant him relief on Friday. Mr Banerjee had moved the Chief Justice’s bench for an urgent hearing challenging the order passed on Thursday by a single-judge bench of Justice Amrita Sinha, who was hearing a petition by Mr Banerjee to recall the order of a previous single-judge bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay.Mr Banerjee had challenged Justice Gangopadhyay’s order in the Supreme Court, alleging bias. The Supreme Court had pulled up the judge, saying judges have no business giving interviews on cases before them.The Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of the case from Justice Gangopadhyay’s court to another court. That petition is now being heard by Justice Amrita Sinha.Justice Gangopadhyay’s April 13 order had allowed the ED and the CBI to question Mr Banerjee after a speech he delivered at Shahid Minar in Kolkata. The case dates back to arrested Trinamool Congress leader Kuntal Ghosh’s complaint that he was under pressure from ED officers to name and implicate Mr Banerjee in the alleged teachers’ recruitment scam in West Bengal.