Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday defended her government in the chit fund scam and lauded the police force for doing a "good job". She also announced a Rs 500 crore relief fund for the small and medium-term investors hit by the scam. She said that Rs 150 crore of the fund would be raised through a 10 per cent surcharge on cigarettes and the rest through other means.
Mamata attacked the Left saying its members would be exposed soon and warned that if anybody from the Trinamool Congress "has done an illegal thing, legal remedy will be taken".
She did not spare the Centre either asking why it hadn't acted against the ponzi schemes earlier. "When Centre can take money from state as interest on loans, how can they not act on chit fund companies?" Mamata asked. She further said that she would call a special Assembly session to enact a law to regulate chit funds.
"I request all people to carefully invest their money in future. We seek your cooperation in this. Do not politicise the issue. Instead, stand by the people," she added.
Obliquely referring to TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh who had recently resigned as the CEO of the Saradha Media Group, which had owned a TV news channel and party MP Srinjoy Bose, editor of a Bengali daily, Mamata said, "One journalist is being targeted... There are so many journalists... there is no use of identifying one channel and one newspaper.
"If any MP of Trinamool Congress has committed an offence, the law will take its own course," she said, accusing the CPI(M) of politicking over a people's issue. "How many CPI(M) MPs have stashed their money and with how much did they run their party? And, a news channel identifying others will be exposed.
"Iswar and Allah knows who has kept money for how many days. The government has no data," she said.
She also urged the affected investors to give the details of their investments to the commission to be headed by former CJ of Allahabad High Court Shyamal Sen.
TMC seeks probe, says it's up to party MPs to quit
The Trinamool Congress, under fire from the Congress and the Left over the West Bengal chit fund scam, has said that it had no role to play in it. Party leader Saugata Roy said, "The TMC as a party is not involved in the scam. This has been done by a scamster. I have no knowledge of any personal connection between the TMC and the Saradha group."
He, however, said that the charges levelled against the TMC MPs were serious and the state government was handling "the investigation with all seriousness". "A judicial commission has been formed. The state government is planning to call a special Assembly session to enact a law against chit fund," he said.
He added that it would be "nice if they step down, but it's according to them and what our party leadership decides". "The MPs should defend themselves," he added.