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Amit Shah says chit fund owners bought Mamata's paintings, TMC hits back with defamation notice


Press Trust of India Kanthi (WB)
In a scathing attack, BJP chief Amit Shah Tuesday claimed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's paintings were bought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees, drawing a sharp response from the ruling Trinamool Congress, which issued a defamation notice against him.
Vowing to uproot the Trinamool government in state, he said if the BJP comes to power, it will ensure that each and every defrauded investor in the chit fund scam get their money back.
Making pointed attacks against Banerjee, Shah, at a rally in East Midnapore's Kanthi, said, "Are you all aware of Mamata Banerjee's qualities? She is a very good painter. Even if someone is a great painter, how much would his/her paintings cost? (Rs) 10,000, (Rs) 20,000, (Rs) 1 lakh or (Rs) 10 lakh. But her paintings were brought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees."

"So, will the chit fund owners ever be arrested if the person, whose paintings they had brought, is the chief minister?" he asked, claiming that over 25 lakh people of the state had lost their life's savings in the scam.
The TMC was quick to react. The party dismissed Shah's charges as "baseless" and alleged that the "BJP is trying to malign our party".
Chandrima Bhattacharya, senior TMC leader and minister of state for health, also issued a defamation notice against the BJP chief and accused him of trying to malign Banerjee by "uttering lies".
"I want to ask him on what basis he made those comments against our party leader. He has to either give evidence in support of his statements or apologise publicly for his comments. If he doesn't do it we will take legal steps against him," Bhattacharya said.
Shah asked the people of Bengal to give the BJP a chance to form government in the state and it would return the money investors lost to the chit fund scam.
"Give us one chance. We will ensure the recovery of the money looted by the chit funds. They (TMC) cannot do it. We will do it," he said, claiming the upcoming Lok Sabha election would be about restoring democracy in the state.
Reacting to Shah's comments, Trinamool's East Midnapore strongman Suvendu Adhikari said the BJP has been "playing those old records for several years".
"Instead of making baseless allegations they should prove them if they have the guts," he said.
After the rally, violent clashes broke out in the area between TMC and BJP workers. Several persons from both sides were said to be injured.
In Delhi, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the TMC has targeted vehicles carrying party workers after Shah's rally.
According to the party's local leaders, buses in which BJP workers were returning from Shah's rally were ransacked and set on fire allegedly by TMC activists.
The Trinamool Congress, on the other side, said BJP workers attacked a local TMC party office in Kanthi and vandalised it. Irked TMC supporters then retaliated and clashes broke out, it said.
Following the violence, Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up the chief minister and expressed serious concerns.
Singh asked her to take action against those who indulged in the violence.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 10:35 PM IST

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