TMC Leader Abhishek Banerjee Calls Off His Yatra After CBI Summon

TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee accused the CBI of going soft on those who have joined the BJP, in an apparent dig at Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari.

Abhishek Banerjee

TMC Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee has suspended his 60-day state-wide yatra and returned to Kolkata after the CBI summoned him for questioning on Saturday. 

According to the report in NDTV, Banerjee said he would cooperate with the investigation.

The report said during a rally in Bankura, before leaving for Kolkata, 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," Banerjee was quoted as having said.

It also said Banerjee 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," Banerjee was quoting as having said.

The report 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," Banerjee was quoted as having 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, it mentioned.

The CBI summons to Banerjee came after the Calcutta High Court refused to grant him relief on Friday.