West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 | BJP cites leaked audio tapes to target Abhishek Banerjee

Conversation proves his complicity in coal pilferage scam, it says, TMC dismisses charges.

The BJP on Sunday targeted Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee alleging that the conversation in a recently leaked audio tape proves his complicity in the coal pilferage scam.

The audio tape of an alleged conversation between a Kolkata businessman and another individual was made public by the BJP leadership. In the tape, the two persons are heard talking about how money was siphoned through coal pilferage and other illegal activities like cattle smuggling through a well-organised syndicate.

Senior party leaders Suvendu Adhikari, Dinesh Trivedi and Amit Malaviya held a press conference alleging that Mr. Banerjee was a beneficiary of the scheme. Mr. Adhikari described the development as the biggest organised scam, carried out with the help of the State government. Mr. Trivedi said the audio tape was only the “tip of an iceberg”.

The tape has come to the fore days before 31 Assembly seats go to the polls in the third phase on April 6. The Enforcement Directorate arrested a local police officer and inspector-in charge of Bankura Ashok Mishra in connection with the pilferage scam.

The Trinamool Congress leadership held a press conference dismissing all allegations. “Knowing that they are losing the polls, the BJP is clinging to straws by manufacturing such audio tapes. It is still not proved whether the tapes are genuine,” said senior TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the biggest syndicate is run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

In 2016, just before the Assembly polls, the Naradha sting videos had come out showing several TMC leaders allegedly accepting cash on camera. Some of those accused in the scam including Mr. Adhikari have joined the BJP. The CBI which is probing the issue on the instructions of the Calcutta High Court has not completed its investigation into the tapes.

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