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Mamata Banerjee slams ED, claims he conspired to arrest Abhishek ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal. PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday attacked the Law Enforcement Directorate (ED), accusing the central agency of trying to gather evidence for the arrest of party leader Abhishek Banerjee before the Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP, on the other hand, has accused West Bengal’s ruling party of spreading slander against the country’s top investigative agency.

“I have never seen such a vindictive government in Delhi. I recently received a message that they will arrest him (Abhishek Banerjee) before the elections. They (ED) downloaded files to his computers,” the TMC leader said while addressing the party’s student rally.

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“They think they’re too smart with computers. But they shouldn’t underestimate us,” she said.

Earlier in the day, while addressing the rally, Abhishek Banerjee also made similar statements. “ED officials were sent for a raid a day after I returned (from abroad). During the raid, they downloaded 16 files to a computer. Now if the CBI goes to the same location after seven days and finds these records, the smear campaign will begin,” he said.

On August 21, the ED searched several locations in Kolkata and its neighborhood for more than eight hours as part of its investigation into the school job scam. Among the premises raided was the office of a private company in the upscale New Alipore district, south of the city.

The MP for Diamond Harbor said while traveling abroad for medical treatment, rumors spread in West Bengal that he would not return to the country.

“My last name is Banerjee. We know how to keep fighting with our heads held high without going to Delhi. Fake news and lies regularly circulate through part of the media,” he said.

Abhishek Banerjee, the national general secretary of the TMC, had previously been questioned by central agencies in cases of cattle smuggling and charcoal theft. He called it a political vendetta of the BJP.

The TMC leader, considered the party’s number two, reiterated that if there was any evidence of his wrongdoing, “I will walk to the gallows and hang myself”.

The two-time MP, nephew of West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo, Mamata Banerjee, said those who take part in media trials either do not believe in due process or lack the patience to that.

He asked, “Isn’t that disgusting?” Isn’t this an attempt to slander me?

Reacting to the TMC leaders’ remarks, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said they were now scared.

“If the leaders of the TMC have nothing to hide, why are they afraid of the ED and the CBI? We have seen that the entire TMC is steeped in corruption. Many TMC executives are behind bars. The day is not far off when all of TMC’s top brass will be behind bars,” he said.

TMC General Secretary and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee has been arrested by the ED for his alleged involvement in the school jobs scam after a huge sum of money was recovered from the residence of the one of his close associates.

The party received another shock when the CBI arrested its Birbhum district chairman, Anubarata Mondal, in a cattle smuggling case.


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