Mamata Banerjee's allegation that Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's name figured in the Saradha chit fund scam provided ammunition to the state Congress on Monday to reiterate charges that the CBI was being misused by the ruling BJP.
"Everybody knows that his (Sarma) residence was searched by the CBI in connection with the Saradha scam. He was a minister in my cabinet then. There are also media reports that he had met Saradha bosses in Guwahati Town Club. There was another TMC leader in Bengal, Mukul Roy, who also faced the same charge. Both joined BJP and after that CBI investigation stopped against them," former Assam chief minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi said, outside the State Assembly on Monday.
Sarma, however, has not reacted to the allegation so far.
Congress MLAs raised the issue in the ongoing budget session of Assam Assembly and sought a reply from the BJP-led state government. They walked out of the house after the Speaker did not allow them to raise the issue soon after the Question Hour.
Gogoi led Congress government was in power in Assam for 15-years till May 2016, when the BJP wrested power.
Sarma, a former minister in Gogoi's cabinet switched to the BJP in August 2015, after leading a group of dissident Congress MLAs.
Gogoi said his government had recommended a CBI inquiry into the collection of money by Saradha from depositors in Assam but the investigation against Sarma stopped after he joined the BJP. Sarma, however, had earlier denied the charges.
"Just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had released a document in New Delhi in which it claimed Sarma's involvement in the chit fund scam. But they turned silent after he joined the BJP. They are using the CBI to harass opposition parties, including TMC," another Congress leader and former minister Pradyut Bordoloi said.