Left Front leaders court arrest in Kolkata, released

Kolkata, May 31 (IANS) Defying a police ban, hundreds of workers of opposition Left Front (LF) Friday courted arrest here in support of their eight-point charter of demands, which included a CBI probe into the chit fund scam under the supervision of a court.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose and leader of opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra were among those who were arrested and immediately therafter released on bail at the Rani Rashmoni Avenue here.

The LF had called for a “law violation programme” to demand confiscation of the properties of the Saradha Group in order to return the money of depositors who had been duped by it.

The other demands included judicial inquiry into the death of student leader Sudipta Gupta, establishment of law and order and protection of peoples’ democratic rights, and proper food security and employment creation in the state.

Police had earlier said that they would not permit any violation of the law during the Left Front demonstration.

However, soon after the token arrest and release, Bose and other party leaders held a sit-in demonstration. They said the police did not follow the established practice of taking law violators to jail in buses.

Later, Bose said in future the LF would “undertake political programmes without seeking permission from the authorities and without any prior announcement”.

“After seeing the way the police have behaved under orders from the Trinamool Congress government, we have taken this decision”.

When asked whether that would amount to law violation, Bose said: “May be”.

Earlier, Bose told the gathering that the LF would not have resorted to its “law violation programme” had the government taken steps to indemnify the Saradha company depositors.

“They could have seized properties of the Saradha Group and indemnified the depositors. But she (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) treaded the much-used political path by setting up a commission. It is an eyewash,” he said.

He alleged when Students Federation of India (SFI) leader Sudipto Gupta was battling for his life in hospital after he was “beaten up” in police custody, the chief minister was enjoying the Indian Premier League (IPL) inauguration on April 2.

“Now, all of us know that IPL is riddled with corruption,” he said.

Bose said that Banerjee had promised to return land to the farmers of Hooghly district’s Singur who had not taken the compensation cheques from the erstwhile Left Front regime for their land taken for the Tata Motors Nano plant.

“The entire matter is now in limbo. It is not as easy as she made people to think.”

The LF chairman also lashed out at the Banerjee government for deploying a large number of police personnel in view of the combine’s law violation programme.

“She says she does not have money to carry out development. But see the large number of police personnel deployed. There are police with binoculars, water canons, the combat force is also there. And so many barricades have been put up. Is this not tantamount to squandering of money?” he asked.

Mishra said people have the right to know the amount of money “swindled” by the Trinamool leaders in the Saradha scam.

“They also have the right to know who have been buying your paintings for exorbitant prices,” he asked Banerjee.

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