Malda/Baharampur, April 19 (IANS) Claiming that big scams were taking place in West Bengal, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Saturday accused the state's Trinamool Congress government of shielding scamsters and demanded a CBI probe into the Saradha scandal.
"Bigger scams are happening in Bengal. You all know about the Saradha (chit fund) scam, 20 lakh people have suffered losses," Gandhi said at a party rally in Shamsi in Malda district.
"The SEBI and the Enforcement Directorate have been clamouring for action but the government here is taking no action, rather, it is shielding them."
Carrying the attack further in Baharampur in neighbouring Murshidabad district, Gandhi said that while the Congress talked about the poor, about the right to food, "Mamataji talks about the chit fund, about Saradha".
"The scam runs into Rs.18,000 crore. This is your money. The money belongs to the poor. There is need for a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe. But the state government does not want that. They know if the CBI begins probe, they will be exposed," Gandhi said.
While Saradha promoter Sudipta Sen is already behind bars, the Enforcement Directorate probing the matter recently arrested Sen's wife and son for alleged money laundering.
Suspended Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh, who has also been arrested, has repeatedly alleged involvement of several party colleagues in the scam.
In both the rallies, Gandhi charged the Mamata Banerjee government with serving party workers rather than the masses.
"Whatever the Left Front used to do, now Mamataji is doing. Earlier, the Left Front used to serve its workers, and not Bengal. The same story is being repeated now. Things are being done for the Trinamool workers, but not for people of Bengal, the poor people," Gandhi said.
He said there has only been a change of regime in the state. "Only the colour of the flag has changed from red to green, but nothing else has changed."
He alleged that the government was appointing Trinamool workers instead of genuine candidates as primary school teachers by flouting government guidelines.
"There is teacher appointment scam involving recruitment of 35,000 primary school teachers. Without following government guidelines, Trinamool workers were absorbed in place of genuine candidates, candidates who know how to teach," he said.
Rubbishing Banerjee's claims that the state has been denied central funds, Gandhi said Rs.1,200 crore under the MNREGA has been provided.
"In fact, Rs.120 crore central funds are lying unused in Malda district.
"This government only talks big but doesn't do anything for the poor. It is the Delhi government which will generate employment for you," Gandhi said as he talked about his party's plans for industrialisation and employment generation.
Gandhi said that while the centre passed the Right to Food Act, the Banerjee government did not implement the scheme in Bengal.
"We have sent money, sent food, why didn't you start the scheme?" the Congress leader asked.
On atrocities against women, Gandhi said "you have a woman chief minister, but Bengal tops the list in the number of rapes in the country."
Gandhi also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of dividing people and the country on communal lines and said the CPI-M "which has become irrelevant" was "anti-industry".