"If A Firecracker Goes Off in Bengal, CBI, NSG Come To Probe": Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee said the recovered items "might have been brought by officials of the central agency".

'If A Firecracker Goes Off in Bengal, CBI, NSG Come To Probe': Mamata Banerjee

The seized items might have been brought by CBI in a car, said Mamata Banerjee (FILE)

Kulti/Ushagram (WB):

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said there was "no evidence" of recovery of arms and ammunition in Sandeshkhali and claimed that CBI teams conducted searches without keeping the state police in the loop.

Expressing skepticism regarding the operations, Ms Banerjee said the recovered items "might have been brought by officials of the central agency".

"If a firecracker goes off in Bengal, the NIA, CBI and the NSG come to investigate. It seems that a war is going on. The state police were not informed. It is not known what was found. The seized items might have been brought by them (CBI) in a car," Ms Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister was addressing election rallies in Kulti and Ushagram for Trinamool Congress' Asansol Lok Sabha candidate Shatrughan Sinha.

Accusing the BJP of scheming to manipulate the general elections in Bengal, Ms Banerjee vowed to thwart any plan they might have regarding Sandeshkhali.

"I will foil your plans if you are conspiring something regarding Sandeshkhali," she said.

The CBI on Friday seized arms and ammunition, including a police service revolver and foreign-made firearms, during searches at two premises of an associate of now-suspended TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh in Sandeshkhali.

The searches were conducted in connection with the January attack on an Enforcement Directorate (ED) team by a mob that was allegedly instigated by Sheikh, who was arrested by the West Bengal Police on February 29 in the case.

Teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), bomb detection squad, National Security Guards (NSG), paramilitary forces and West Bengal Police were part of the searches at Sandeshkhali -- a riverine delta -- on the fringes of the Sunderbans in North 24 Parganas district.

Ms Banerjee also said, "Today, I heard there was an incident near Sandeshkhali. A BJP leader had stored bombs in his house. They think that they can win the elections by cancelling (school) jobs and with bombs. We want 'roti, kapda, makaan' and jobs for the people, not their lofty speeches." The Trinamool Congress alleged that several people were injured after a bomb went off at the house of a relative of a BJP leader in Basirhat assembly constituency on Saturday.

She was apparently referring to the Calcutta High Court judgment on school jobs.

The court declared the recruitment process of the State Level Selection Test-2016 (SLST) in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools as “null and void”, ordering the cancellation of all appointments made through it.

Ms Banerjee also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "silence on the incidents of violence in Manipur" and asked why central agencies were not sent there.

"There is still unrest in Manipur. Today two jawans were killed in the northeastern state. I express my condolences to their families. But why the PM could not bring the situation under control? He must answer why women were paraded naked. Who will answer?" she asked.

Ms Banerjee levelled accusations against the BJP, claiming that they were "financially influencing the media to broadcast content dictated by them".

She further claimed that media outlets were complying with BJP directives to avoid repercussions from agencies like the Income Tax, CBI, and NIA.

Without taking his name, the TMC chief hit out at BJP's Asansol Lok Sabha candidate SS Ahluwalia alleging that he had paid voters to win the last election from the Durgapur-Bardhaman constituency.

"Why have you come to contest in the Asansol constituency? You did nothing for the seat from where you won last time. You were absent there for the last five years. I know how you won the election from Bardhaman-Durgapur last time. You gave packets (containing money) to voters. I will ask people not to accept anything less than Rs 15 lakh this time... It was the promise of the PM," she said.

Ms Banerjee questioned Ahluwalia's silence when one Sikh IPS officer was allegedly called a "Khalisthani".

"When one of our Punjabi officers was called Khalistani, where were you? You did not protest at that time," she said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)