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TMC vs BJP over Mamata’s ‘audio tape’ on Sitalkuchi firing | India News

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NEW DELHI: A fresh controversy has erupted in West Bengal after the BJP yet again released a purported audio clip of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, this time on last week’s firing incident in Cooch Behar in which four people were killed.
Here’s how the row unfolded …
BJP releases audio tape
BJP national IT cell incharge Amit Malviya on Friday released the audio tape of a purported conversation between Mamata and TMC Sitalkuchi candidate Partha Pratim Ray.
In the tape, the female voice, alleged to be that of Mamata’s, can be heard asking “Partha” to “keep the bodies so that the party could hold a rally with the dead”.
It is then heard asking “the TMC candidate” “to tell the families not to take the bodies home”.
The BJP claimed the conversation took place after last Saturday’s CISF firing.
The TMC had earlier described the audio clip as “bogus” and said no such conversation took place.
Mamata hits out; TMC writes to EC
The TMC supremo lashed out at the BJP on Saturday over the alleged audio tape and claimed that her phone is being tapped by the saffron party.
Addressing an election rally in West Bengal, she accused the BJP of being involved in the conspiracy as the saffron party “cannot match” the ruling Trinamool Congress‘ campaigning on development programmes.
“They (BJP leaders) are even eavesdropping on our everyday conversation. It seems they are tapping our phone calls on cooking and other household chores,” she said.
The chief minister said she will order a CBI probe into the matter.
“I will order a CID probe into the issue. I will not spare anyone involved in such snooping activities. I have already come to know who is behind this,” the TMC supremo said.
Meanwhile, the TMC wrote a letter to the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) accusing the BJP of illegally recording a conversation between Mamata and Partha.
In the letter, the TMC leaders, including Yashwant Sinha, Derek O’Brien and Purnendu Basu, said that a telephonic conversation between Banerjee and Ray was played by the BJP at their office in presence of BJP IT cell in charge Amit Malviya and MP Locket Chatterjee.
“In the said conference, it has been alleged that in the aftermath of the CISF firing incident at Sitalkuchi, Mamata Banerjee had a conversation with Partha Pratim Ray. The BJP has not only illegally recorded and/or caused it to be recorded, but also played it at the press conference out of context. The entire exercise by the BJP is an illegal act and is a direct assault on legal rights, including the Right to Privacy of Mamata Banerjee and Partha Pratim Ray,” the TMC said.
“For such gross violation and the consequences of the said act of BJP, necessary steps for prosecution under criminal law shall be taken seperately,” they added.
BJP urges EC to scan clip
A BJP delegation on Saturday urged the poll panel to take note of the purported audio clip as “such a move could lead to more tension” in the state amid the ongoing elections.
Senior BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta, who led the delegation to the state CEO office, told reporters that he has apprised the poll panel of the conversation and pointed out that it could lead to untoward situations in the next three phases of the assembly elections.
Dasgupta, who is also the candidate for saffron party’s Tarakeshwar assembly seat, further stated that the CEO has been requested to take up the matter with the top officials of the Election Commission.
He claimed that the audio tape was leaked on purpose.
“We don’t think this is a case of phone-tapping,” Dasgupta said.
Mamata playing politics with the dead: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hit out at Mamata over the leaked tapes and accused her of playing politics with the dead.
Speaking at an election rally in the sprawling industrial town of Asansol, Modi claimed the Trinamool Congress supremo has an old habit of doing politics with dead bodies and has been trying to politicise the “unfortunate” death of four people at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district on April 10.
PM Modi said the West Bengal chief minister’s insensitivity was evident once again in connection with the Cooch Behar firing incident.
“The truth is that Didi thought of her own political gain from the death of people in Cooch Behar she has an old habit of doing politics with dead bodies,” he alleged.
(With inputs from PTI)

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