TMC Leaders Laundering Black Money Through Durga Puja Committees, Claims BJP
Kolkata: Questioning West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's criticism of IT notices served to Durga Puja committees, the BJP on Monday accused a section of ruling TMC leaders of laundering money allegedly looted in chit fund scams through the puja committees.
Banerjee had on Sunday criticised the Centre for issuing income tax notices to several Durga Puja committees here, saying festivals should be exempt from levies.
She had said the Trinamool Congress would sit on a dharna in the city on August 13 in protest against the move of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
The TMC leadership had also alleged that BJP is trying to take control of Durga Puja committees in the state.
"What is the harm if the IT looks into the money flow in Durga Puja committees? In some puja committees, senior TMC leaders and ministers occupy important positions and use it to launder their black money looted through cut money and chit fund scams. The TMC is afraid that this link might be revealed," BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.
Mocking Banerjee's "crocodile tears" for Durga Puja committees, Sinha said if she is "so concerned" then why did the TMC government on several occasions try to stop Durga Puja rituals to allow Muharram processions in the state.
"She (Banerjee) should be the last person to talk about Durga Puja. If she is so bothered about the festival, then why did she stop idol immersions for consecutive years in order to allow Muharram processions in the state," he said.
Banerjee, he alleged, is "more interested" in appeasing Muslims rather than heeding the sentiments of the Hindus.
Later, while talking to reporters on the issue BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said whenever there are monetary transactions certain rules need to be followed.
"Durga Puja committes also need to follow the rules. Mamata Banerjee should stop commenting on things which she does not understand, rather she should spend time on rejuventing her party. Time is running out for TMC," he said.
Reacting to the comments, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee alleged that the BJP is trying to take control of the Puja committees and sending IT notices are just a part of it to intimidate them to surrrender before the saffron camp.
"The BJP is just trying to take control of puja committees in the state. So they are sending IT notices to threaten them. This is not only undemocratic but authoritarian mindset," he said.
Ghosh denied Chatterjee's allegations as baseless. Banerjee had tweeted on Sunday, "The Income Tax Dept has issued notices to many committees who organize Durga pujos, asking them to pay taxes. We are proud of all our national festivals. These festivals are for all and we do not want any pujo festival to be taxed. This will be a burden on the organizers."