Mitra in his office on Saturday. Picture by Kinsuk Basu
Calcutta, Aug. 30: Transport minister Madan Mitra has challenged investigating agencies to prove that he has taken a single penny from the Saradha Group.
Excerpts from an interview at Mitra’s office on Saturday:
Q: Are you prepared to face the CBI if it calls you?
Mitra: I am ready to face the CBI not once but 1,000 times. I am fully prepared. Just that before I turn up, I will need 10 minutes to get my party’s consent. Not only the CBI but any agency.
Q: There are allegations that you are a beneficiary of the Saradha scam?
Mitra: Baseless rumours. If it is proved that either me or any one in my family received any money from Saradha, I am ready to relinquish my post and go back to the people. And then I would ask those making the allegations to accept my challenge and contest me in the court of the people.
Q: What is the challenge?
A: My challenge to the CBI or any other investigating agency is to prove that Madan Mitra has taken a single penny from this group. I am completely innocent.
Q: But you did attend a programme of the Saradha Group?
A: Yes. That was sometime in 2009 or 2010 and it was at the Netaji Indoor Stadium. I was then not aware that it was a chit fund company. But after being informed that it was a chit fund company, I didn’t attend any of their programmes. Let me tell you that I have never used my influence or my power in any form for increasing the volume of Saradha’s business.
Q: Brazilian soccer giant Carlos Dunga was in Calcutta
A: Yes, you are referring to an exhibition match. Dunga is now the coach of the Brazilian team and a good friend of mine. He loves me. The CBI or any such agency can easily investigate to find out whether I took any money for the exhibition match.
Q: There are allegations against several members of your party
A: I am not the spokesperson of the party. I can only speak on my part. I don’t think that either me or anyone from my party is involved. This is a political conspiracy that is aimed at maligning the honesty in which the Trinamul Congress believes.