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Agencies Kolkata, December 12, 2014 Embarrassment mounted for West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress after the CBI arrested state transport and sports minister Madan Mitra in connection with the Saradha scam on Friday.    
He is the first minister of Bengal to be arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in any case, and the fourth Trinamool leader to be held by the probe agency in the chit fund scam.
Accusing the Centre of adopting bullying tactics after Mitra’s arrest, Banerjee lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and dared them to arrest her.
“CBI may take Madan to SSKM Hospital. I will go to meet him. Let me see whether Amit Shah’s goondas and Narendra Modi’s police can arrest me,” she said.
“It (the arrest) is unfortunate, shameful and deserves to be condemned. It’s sheer political vendetta. Can the CBI and the Centre go out of their jurisdiction and act like this?” she added.
The Saradha chit fund scam trail is hounding Banerjee’s government unlike any other challenge she has encountered during her stint in power so far and Mitra’s arrest triggered fresh calls from opposition leaders for her resignation.
Opposition parties have repeatedly accused the CM of trying to shield some of the beneficiaries of the company’s slush funds.
The Saradha scam was caused by the collapse of the investment operation of the Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 private companies, which ran many



unlicensed financial schemes in eastern India.
Under the scam hundreds of thousands of small investors lost Rs. 2,459 crore, according to an official estimate. There are unofficial estimates that peg the figure higher.The CBI arrested Mitra around 4 pm after questioning him for about three hours during which he denied taking any money from Saradha, said an official privy to the development.
According to the official, who did not want to be named, Mitra stood his ground despite CBI officers confronting him with evidence.
“In the Saradha chit fund scam, RC 4 S/14, case relating to Saradha Realty, CBI has arrested Madan Mitra, a cabinet minister in the government of West Bengal on prima facie evidence of criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation as well as deriving undue financial benefits from Saradha group,” said a CBI statement.“CBI has also arrested Naresh Balodia, legal advisor to Sudipta Sen (Saradha Group chairperson) on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and diversion of funds in the same case,” the statement added.Within an hour of the arrest, the Trinamool tore into Shah, who had launched a scathing attack on the Bengal CM last month, laying the foundation for the 2016 assembly elections in the state.
 “The arrest of our cabinet colleague seems to be an act of vendetta. It appears CBI is controlled not only by BJP but also by Amit Shah. We strongly condemn this action. Neither the governor, nor the assembly speaker was informed before the arrest,” said Subrata Mukherjee, state panchayat minister. -
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