Kolkata/Bankura: TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, who has been called by the CBI to appear at its Kolkata office on Saturday as part of its probe into the school jobs scam, dared the central agency to arrest him if it has any proof of corruption or misconduct against him.
CBI officials Friday said Banerjee had been sent a missive asking him to join the probe at its offices at Nizam Palace here.
“I dare the CBI to arrest me if they have any proof of corruption against me. They have been probing many cases in Bengal for the last several years. They should arrest me if they have any proof against me,” he said on Friday at a rally in Bankura, adding that he would return to the city this evening.
Earlier, on Thursday, Calcutta High Court had dismissed a petition filed by Banerjee seeking recall of a previous order of the court which said that investigative agencies such as CBI and ED could interrogate him in the teacher recruitment scam.
The TMC leader’s name cropped up in a complaint filed by Kuntal Ghosh, an accused in the scam. Ghosh alleged that he was being pressured by central investigating agencies to name Abhishek Banerjee in the school scam case.
“Abhishek Banerjee will appear at CBI’s office at Nizam Palace at 11 am. He will be doing one event in Bankura and then leave for Kolkata,” a TMC leader said.
Banerjee accused the BJP of “using” the central agency to stop his ongoing mass outreach campaign as the saffron party was “afraid of the public support” for the programme.
“I will not bow my head before anyone apart from the masses. The BJP is afraid of the public support for the mass outreach campaign. CBI has summoned me, as they (BJP) want this mass outreach campaign to stop:,” he said while addressing a road show here.
Reacting to his remarks, the BJP dubbed the allegations as baseless.
“The BJP has nothing to do with the CBI probe. If he has nothing to hide, why is he making such allegations,” BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.
Standing atop a vehicle, the TMC’s national general secretary thanked people for their “overwhelming love and support”.
“I dare the CBI to arrest me if they have any proof of corruption against me. They have been probing many cases in Bengal for the last several years. They should arrest me if they have any proof against me,” he said, adding that he would return to the city this evening.
Banerjee said he has temporarily suspended his mass outreach campaign – Trinamool Nabojowar (Trinamool New Wave), to join the probe and will resume it again from Bankura on Monday.
“Despite not being given even a day’s prior notice, I will still abide by it (CBI’s missive asking him to appear) as I have done no wrong,” he said.
TMC leader criticized the CBI for not summoning BJP leaders accused of corruption.
“A person was caught on camera taking bribes, but the CBI never summons him as he has joined the BJP. You can loot, take bribes and commit crimes; you won’t be touched once you join the BJP, as it is now a safe haven for thieves,” he said while referring to the Narada scam, which the CBI is also probing.