Seizing on a report published in a leading Bengali daily about a bank account allegedly in the names of two top West Bengal CPI(M) leaders running into crores, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today demanded a thorough investigation into it and asked, "Now who is the thief?"
"How was such a huge amount of money deposited in the name of individuals?" the chief minister asked at a panchayat election meeting in Burdwan district.
"If they have such a vast amount of money in the country's banks, guess how much money they have stashed away abroad," she claimed. "I want a thorough probe into the bank accounts of all CPI(M) leaders and former ministers in the state to ascertain the source of the money," she demanded.
The newspaper report alleged that an account in the name of the two CPI(M) leaders, including a former minister, at a nationalised bank here showed a deposit of Rs 16 crore till April 23 this year.
It alleged that the address of the bank account of the two CPI(M) leaders was 31, Alimuddin Street, the party state headquarters.
Ms Mamata, the Trinamool Congress supremo, claimed that she was running her party by selling her paintings and books and was a regular income tax payer. "I was an MP for 23 to 24 years and pay income tax regularly," she said.
Referring to her spartan lifestyle, she said "I don't stay at the official residence of the chief minister nor use the official car. I do not own a house or car. Had I drawn pension as a former MP I would have received Rs 50,000 per month which I do not."
Alleging that that the CPI(M) had amassed a fortune in assets during 35 years of Left Front rule, she said sarcastically, "They (CPI(M) had branded me as a thief. Now see who is the thief?"