Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien on Monday refuted reports that the party had set up a team to monitor the content of social networking sites and keep track of “derogatory comments and pictures” of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

This comes in the wake of the controversial arrest of a professor of Jadavpur University for forwarding an e-mail that took a dig at Ms. Banerjee and other leaders of the party.

“Some baseless reports have appeared on the front page of a newspaper,” Mr. O'Brien told The Hindu.

Even as Mr. O'Brien sought to dispel the rumours, there were reports that the State's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had asked social networking websites to monitor their content. Senior officials of the CID, however, denied this.

The Trinamool Congress has been severely criticised for curbing the freedom of expression. Apart from this incident, the government has been under fire for restricting the newspapers in libraries run, sponsored or aided by the State.

When asked to comment on the public outcry that the decision had prompted, Ms. Banerjee had said: “We are not telling the people what to read. Tomorrow we may have to tell them that as well.”