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Mamata Banerjee blames political vendetta for Tapas Paul’s death

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File photo

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File photo

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged political vendetta behind the arrest of Tapas Paul was responsible for the actor’s death . The celebrated actor of Bengali cinema, also a two-time Trinamool Congress MP , died in Mumbai on Tuesday. He was 61.

Ms. Banerjee, who offered condolences to the family of the deceased actor at Rabindra Sadan during the day, said the actor passed away too soon. She said Paul was “mentally devastated” after his arrest. He was arrested by the CBI in December 2016 in connection with a Ponzi scam and was granted bail after 13 months.

“This was not the time for him to go.. He had to spend one year and a month in prison. What was his crime? As a director of the entertainment company, he had received some money as salary,” Ms Banerjee said.

The Trinamool Congress chairperson said former party MP Sultan Ahmed also died under similar circumstances in 2017 after receiving calls from a Central agency.

“This is political vendetta.. Nobody is being spared from this dangerous conspiracy,” she said.

The Chief Minister also raised the issue of the arrest of Srikanta Mohata, a well-known producer of Bengali films and proprietor of Sri Venkatesh Films Entertainment Pvt Ltd in connection with the Ponzi scam. She said that Mr. Mohata had been behind bars for over a year and was not keeping well. She also referred to the arrest of well-known journalist Suman Chattopadhyay in connection with the scam.

“Even in murder cases, a charge sheet is filed in three months. I am not sure whether a charge sheet was filed here or not. If somebody is guilty after trial, let that person be punished but what kind of strategy is it to put people behind bars for so long?,” she asked.

The Ponzi scam , in which thousands of depositors lost money to deposit-raising companies in West Bengal and adjoining States, came to the fore in 2013. In May 2014, the Supreme Court directed the CBI to take up the investigation in this case. Since then, the CBI has questioned and arrested a number of politicians and owners of Ponzi companies. The agency has filed over half a dozen charge sheets but the investigation in the case is still going on.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 5:06:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mamata-banerjee-blames-political-vendetta-for-tapas-pauls-death/article30858910.ece