Video showing TMC leaders accepting bribe surfaces

Video showing TMC leaders accepting bribe surfaces

Video showing TMC leaders accepting bribe surfaces

In a potentially damaging development for Trinamool Congress before the state Assembly polls, the BJP presented several hours of video footage.

In the video, top rung Trinamool leaders are reportedly seen accepting money to provide favours. Calling the video “doctored”, the Trinamool said the party would take legal recourse.

BJP national general secretary Sidharth Nath Singh, who is in charge of Bengal, alleged that footage of around 52 hours showed senior Trinamool leaders Subrata Mukherjee, Saugata Roy, Suvendu Adhikari, Sovan Chatterjee, Madan Mitra, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasoon Banerjee accepting cash to help advance business of a firm called Impex Consultancy, a fictitious company reportedly set up by those who shot the video to entrap the Trinamool leaders.

While Mukul Roy and Firhad Hakim are also in the video, they are not seen directly accepting any money.The video, in the form of a news report, surfaced on a little-known website, with credit for the “sting operation” attributed to Mathew Samuel and Angel Abraham, two journalists who earlier reportedly worked with investigative magazine, Tehelka.

The video claims around Rs 73 lakh was given as bribe to 11 Trinamool leaders and an IPS officer. Talking to reporters in Delhi, Samuel claimed to have spent around Rs 85 lakh to bribe Trinamool leaders and said the “sting operation” was financed by a NRI businessman from Kerala.

The website records its address only as a post box number at Al Qusais Industrial Area in Dubai, with two phone numbers, one of Dubai and another of Noida. Presenting the video, Singh demanded that Mamata resign before the elections.

Singh said his party has already written to the Central Bureau of Investigation’s director, asking him to “intervene and investigate the matter”. “Mamata Banerjee must step down immediately. She has no business to remain the chief minister even for few days before the elections,” he added.

Even though leaders from opposition parties, Left and the Congress asked for the Election Commission’s intervention, no one was willing to vouch for the video’s authenticity. Sources in these parties said senior leadership of the Left and the Congress, who worked out an electoral understanding, are not ready to go to town, apprehending the video’s legitimacy.

Political conspiracy

Calling the video “doctored” and part of a “political conspiracy”, Mukul said, “We’ll take legal action.”

Trinamool national spokesperson Derek O’ Brian said, “We’ve watched the video of the so-called ‘sting’ operation. There is no sting in it. …All I can say to our shameless political opponents is, come, fight us politically. …The timing of the video clearly indicates the devious motive behind it.”

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