Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today challenged the Opposition to prove its allegation that she had taken money from the sale of her paintings. The chief minister said she would resign “tomorrow” if it was proved that a single paisa from the proceeds of the sale of her paintings had been transferred to her account.
“I will paint again. I have done no wrong. Don't question my intergrity. If you can prove that a single penny has been transferred to my account from the sale of my paintings, I will resign tomorrow. Please don't question about my paintings,” Banerjee told the Assembly during her reply on the Governor's address to the House.
“I spend the entire amount earned from the sale of my paintings for running the party. What is wrong in it? I have given several of my paintings free of cost,” she said in reply to the Left parties' charges of irregularities in the sale of her paintings.
Affirming that no one in her party was involved in the chit fund scam, Banerjee requested Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee to allow a discussion on chit funds which flourished in West Bengal since early 80's.
“I think there should be a concrete discussion on it and the people should know it. I would like to reiterate that none from my party is involved in the chit fund (scam). We don't need the money of chit fund companies to run the party,” she told the House.
Banerjee also sought to know why a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on chit fund business only after 2009.
“I have full respect and full faith on our Judiciary and Supreme Court. But I have a question why two political individuals have filed PIL in the Supreme Court only on chit fund business after 2009,” she said pointing out that the businesses flourished in the state under the Left's rule.
Referring to the pictures where Trinamool Congress leaders were seen along with chit fund owners, Banerjee wondered how it was possible to know beforehand that the particular club which had sent the invite had also invited those persons.
Those people could also be possible sponsors of the programme, she pointed out, saying, no club could function without sponsorships.
Referring to Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, now in jail custody in the Saradha scam case, she said if he had committed any crime for arranging sponsorships for clubs, then myriad names would crop up. Banerjee wondered why regulators like SEBI and RBI didn't take any action against the chit fund companies.
She felt that actions, which had been taken in the scam, were based on political considerations, which should not be the case.
Steps should have been taken to identify the real culprits, whoever the person might be, she observed.
Soon after the Saradha scam had broken out, the government formed the Shyamal Sen Commission to conduct an inquiry. The commission had given money upto Rs 10,000 to five lakh defrauded investors, the chief minister said.
Saying that the Commission has submitted its report to the government, Banerjee pointed out that it could not be placed in the Assembly as all the members were yet to sign the report.
Banerjee said the government still had six months' time to place the report in the Assembly after looking at the legal aspects.
No one belonging to TMC had supported these chit funds and would not do in future too, she said.
Making a reference to Sahara, Banerjee wondered how the players could be blamed who were sponsored by the company.