Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Sunday refused to apologise for accusing Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, of being involved in spurious liquor business.
On November 30, Vijayvargiya visited Shantipur in the state's Nadia district where 12 people died allegedly after consuming hooch. The BJP leader alleged that Abhishek was "directly responsible for the deaths". He further alleged that the entire money from the sale of illegal liquor/hooch goes to Abhishek.
The response from the BJP general secretary came a day after Abhishek, who is a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency, sent a legal notice to Vijayvargiya accusing him of defamation.
Reacting to the legal notice, Vijayvargiya told ANI: "I am not afraid of thieves; everybody knows what they are doing in West Bengal. Every illegal activity is linked to him. All those who are involved in illegal works such as smuggling of cows or arms, illegal supply of liquor or coal mining, are in touch with Abhishek. I will not apologise to such kind of people. These people will go to jail soon. I still stand by what I said. Wherever they want to go, they can. I am ready to give them a reply in the court."
Abhishek has sought an unconditional apology and has asked the BJP leader to retract his statement, failing which he has threatened to file a criminal case against him.
According to the legal notice, a copy accessed by ANI stated, "On November 30, a delegation of members of the BJP led by you (Kailash Vijayvargiya) attempted to visit the families of the victims wherein certain defamatory and malicious statements were made against our client and the State Government. Such statements were a fault, politically motivated and deliberately made with the intent of publishing, broadcasting and circulating the same, so as to impinge upon the reputation of our client and to cheaply gain the goodwill of the residents of Shantipur at the cost and reputation of our client."
Abhishek, in his notice also claimed that he never owned or is aware of any illegal sale of liquor and has no idea about the whereabouts of the people involved in such businesses.
"Our client vehemently denies all allegations and imputations made by you and you are put to strict proof thereof. Our client does not own nor is aware of any such illegal sale of liquor and has no idea about the whereabouts of the people involved in such businesses. Our client denies supporting/protecting any illegal activity in the state of West Bengal. Our client does not in any manner benefit financially or otherwise from any such sale of illegal and any suggestion to the contrary is malicious, defamatory, false and deliberately misleading," the notice read.
This is not the first time that Abhishek, national president of the All India Trinamool Youth Congress, has sent a legal notice to a BJP leader. In August, the TMC leader sent a legal notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah for the latter's alleged defamatory statements and insinuations in a public rally held in Kolkata on August 11.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)