Tapas Pal death: Mamata Banerjee accuses Centre of pressurising her partymen with probe, three such deaths in recent times

West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today said she was upset about the way Tapas Pal – actor and former MP of her party – was mentally pressured due to the probe by a Central investigating agency.

She said she had seen the loss of three lives, including Tapas Pal’s, that she connected with the CBI probe. “I have seen the death of three persons in connection with the probe. The guilty should be punished, but why are they being made to languish in jail?” she asked. “Even in murder cases, chargesheet is filed within three months,” she said.

Banerjee named Tapas Pal, Sultan Ahmed and wife of her party MP, Prasun Banerjee who had died in the recent past. The CBI has been investigating Prasun Banerjee in the Narada tape case. Investigation was on against Sultan Ahmed in the Narada case and against Tapas Pal in the Rose Valley case.

Banerjee said that the Centre was using the agency for “political vengeance”.

“Tapas Pal was 61. It was no age to die,” she said. Pal, a popular actor of Bengali cinema, MP for two terms from Krishnagar and an MLA from Alipore, was arrested in 2016 by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam. He was granted bail after 13 months. Banerjee rued that it had affected him a lot, and said he had to die “without knowing” why he had been accused.

She said that she had spoken to the family members of Sultan Ahmed – the Trinamool Congress MP who died of a heart attack in September 2017 – who had told her that he had received a letter (perhaps connected to the probe), went to the bathroom, and suffered a heart attack and died. “I didn’t have the heart to look at his mortal remains,” Banerjee said.

She said the media should highlight the fact that many others were in jail in connection with the various probes under Central investigating agencies. “I don’t know the details of the cases and why they are still in jail,” she said. Srikant Mohta, founder of Shree Venkatesh Films Entertainment Pvt Ltd, was arrested in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam in January 2019. Banerjee said that he was unwell, and had suffered a heart attack. She also referred to Suman Chattopadhyay – who was arrested by the CBI in December 2018, and asked why those who had been in jail for so long hadn’t been released yet.

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