Joydeb, Jan. 10: Mamata Banerjee today lent her weight behind Trinamul MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul, saying they had been branded "thieves" because they dared to speak out against demonetisation.
The Bengal chief minister's comments in Birbhum's Joydeb today were reminiscent of her defence of Trinamul leaders whose names cropped up in connection with the Saradha scam.
"Mamata Banerjee manusher jonyo kotha bolchhe, oke chor bolo. Sudip Bandyopadhyay kotha bolchhe, oke chor bolo, Tapas Pal ke chor bolo. Shobai, shob shilpira chor (Mamata Banerjee speaks for the people, call her a thief. Sudip Bandyopadhyay is speaking too, call him a thief, Call Tapas Paul too. Are all artistes thieves)?" she asked.
"Everyone gives work to artistes, as salaried employees or brand ambassadors. This is the practice everywhere, in Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood," she added.
Both Bandyopadhyay and Paul, arrested in connection with the Rose Valley probe, had been part of protests in Delhi against demonetisation.
Mamata had asked similar questions at a meeting four years ago, when the Saradha scam was unfolding.
"Kunal chor? Madan chor? Tumpai chor? Mukul chor? Aami chor? Shobai chor? Bakira shob shadhu (Is Kunal Ghosh a thief? Is Madan Mitra a thief? Is Srinjoy Bose a thief? Is Mukul Roy a thief? Am I a thief? Are all of us thieves? And the rest are saints)?" she was quoted as telling a general council meeting.
Mamata today accused the Centre of victimising leaders of her party while sparing those of the BJP and the CPM.