Mamata dares Modi, Amit Shah to arrest her



West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday threw an "open challenge" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to arrest her following the arrest of minister Madan Mitra in connection with the Saradha chit fund scandal, a situation she likened to the emergency.

"The situation in India is like Emergency now. We condemn all this. This is our stand. I will go to SSKM Hospital to meet Madan Mitra. I dare Narendra Modi and (BJP president) Amit Shah to arrest me. This is an open challenge," Banerjee told the media.

The Trinamool Congress supremo said Mitra had submitted his resignation before going to the CBI office, but added that he will continue as minister.

"We will not replace him. Madan had submitted a resignation letter before going to the CBI office. But I have not accepted it. He continues as transport minister. It is our challenge. A new battle has begun," she said.

"Tell them to arrest me... Narendra Modi's police and Amit Shah's goondas (hooligans)," she said.

An angry Banerjee tore apart the BJP, and said the Trinamool will take to the streets Saturday in protest.

"We do not seek power. We are ready to support any party which wants to fight against the BJP, be it whichever party," she said.

Banerjee hit out at the central government for not taking action against some media houses and a company in relation to chit funds.

She said the CBI has become BJP's "political tool".

"There is a company in Delhi, located near the finance ministry, which has misappropriated funds worth thousands of crores. Are Sourav and Sachin criminals for playing under Sahara sponsorship? Several media houses took advertisements from chit funds. Has any action been taken against them?" she asked.

"I will tell the 'danga guru' (riot leaders) to take care, take good care. We will take care also," Banerjee warned.

She lashed out at the BJP for "misusing power", and charged the CBI with "acting as per a sequence" of arrests given by a BJP leader during a rally here a few days ago.

"A few days ago, a BJP leader held a rally in Kolkata. He gave the sequence of arrests. The CBI is acting as per that sequence," Banerjee told mediapersons a little after Mitra was taken into custody.

"He (Mitra) was called as a witness. Within a few hours, he was arrested. Isn't this political vendetta? After coming to power, we never arrested anyone based on political vendetta," she said.

She termed the CBI move "illegal and unconstitutional".

"The BJP is misusing power... What the CBI has done is wrong. It is illegal, unconstitutional."

She said the central agency has set a "bad precedent" by arresting a minister without informing the government or the assembly speaker. - IANS