School jobs scam: Malicious campaign by media against TMC, says Bengal CM

DAYS AFTER West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the school recruitment scam, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit out at the media for allegedly launching a “malicious campaign” against the TMC.

She was addressing a function organised by a private firm, Titagarh Wagons, at Uttarpara in Hooghly district. Mamata lashed out at a section of the media for allegedly “trying to act like courts” and “pronounce judgments even before a person is legally proven guilty.”

“The Chief Justice of India recently pointed out that the media is playing the role of kangaroo courts. They [a section of the media] don’t want any development to happen in Bengal and only want to defame our state,” she said.

Banerjee was referring to recent remarks by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on “media running kangaroo courts” and that “ill-informed and agenda-driven debates” and “biased views” are weakening democracy.

Without elaborating, the TMC chairperson claimed that she knows those journalists who have taken “undue benefits”.

She said, “When anyone is running a big institute, there might be some mistakes or errors. People have the right to make a blunder.” She added, “If someone makes a mistake and it is proven under the law, there will be action and punishment against them. But before the judges can pronounce their verdict, there is a media trial against people. They cannot see their own errors and deliberate mistakes.”

The CM also again targeted the BJP-led government at the Centre, saying it would “not be easy to break West Bengal”. Her remarks came on a day the Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched search operations at two apartments owned by Arpita Mukherjee, aide of minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested on July 22. The minister was also arrested by the central agency on July 23.

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“I do not have any problems with investigative agencies doing their jobs. But I will not tolerate the image of any political party being dented in the name of an investigation, especially by those who have looted the country…And if people raise their voices, they are either suspended or slapped with court cases. They [Centre] don’t have any other work apart from using multiple agencies to corner the government and hamper its work. They toppled the Maharashtra government and want to do the same in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Since they lost [elections] in Bengal, they want to do the same here. But I would like to tell them that it is not easy. If they want to break Bengal, they have to fight the Royal Bengal Tiger and the real stakeholders here. But Bengal will not be afraid… They should know.”

She said, “The level of intolerance and cruelty during the present times has surpassed that of the British era. Industrialists should not be scared. I know your homes have been raided by CBI, ED and the Income Tax authorities. The BJP will not come to power [at the Centre] in 2024. I will not speak on the number of seats or explain the arithmetic yet but they will not win.”