PNB scam: West Bengal BJP seeks TMC's clarification on state minister Amit Mitra's photos with Mehul Choksi

Kolkata: Hitting back at the Trinamool Congress (TMC), West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday asked the state's ruling party to clarify about the photographs showing state Finance Minister Amit Mitra with Mehul Choksi, one of the co-accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case who is on the run.

The state BJP leadership has released the photographs of Mitra and Choksi and claimed that those were taken during a business summit in Mumbai a few years back.

West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has been targeting the BJP-led central government over the alleged PNB scam involving diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his relative Choksi.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"The TMC and the chief minister are accusing the BJP over the issue. But they should first explain about the photographs, in which Amit Mitra is seen with Mehul Choksi. It is easy to point fingers at others," Ghosh told reporters here.

The TMC, which was quick to react, asked the BJP not to divert from the main issue.

"At that business summit, several chambers of commerce and industry bodies were invited, maybe he (Choksi) had gone there as a representative of any of those chambers," state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said.

He added that instead of trying to divert from the issue, the BJP should explain how the fraud took place and how Modi and Choksi were allowed to run away from the country.

A political slugfest is on between the BJP and the Congress over the PNB "scam" with both the parties blaming each other for allowing Nirav Modi and his associates to flourish during their respective tenures.

The PNB, the second largest state-run bank, had on 14 February informed the exchanges about detecting a $1.77 billion fraud at its Brady House branch in Mumbai and named the firms led by Modi and his uncle Choksi's Gitanjali Group and some other diamond and jewellery merchants as suspects.

Ghosh also asked the TMC to explain about the public money that had allegedly been syphoned off by its leaders in the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam in the state.

"Before seeking answers from us, they should clarify about the TMC's role in the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scams of Saradha and Rose Valley," he said.

West Bengal was rocked by the chit fund scam a few years back and the names of certain TMC leaders had also figured in it.

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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2018 21:05:09 IST

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