Arun Jaitley hits out at opposition, says “kleptocrat’s club”

Hitting out at the opposition coming together in support of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Union Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday said that a “kleptocrat’s club” was aspiring to hold the reigns of power in the country.

The “disproportionate over-reaction” by Banerjee to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wanting to interrogate the Kolkata Police chief has flagged various issues for public discourse, the minister said, adding “the most important being that a kleptocrat’s club now aspires to capture the reigns of India.”

In a Facebook post with the heading ‘The Kleptocrat’s Club’, Jaitley said the West Bengal chit fund fraud was unearthed in 2012-13. Its investigations were handed over to the CBI by the Supreme Court.

“The court-monitored these investigations. The CBI has interrogated and even arrested some people. Many have been granted bail. If a police officer is also required to be interrogated, how does it become a “super emergency”, “assault on federalism”, or “destruction of institutions”?” Jaitley asked.

Saying that it would be a “gross error” to assume that Banerjee did this because of a routine investigation involving a police officer, Jaitley said, “She did it to defocus from other opposition aspirants for the highest office and to project herself as the nucleus of India’s opposition”.

Since Sunday, Banerjee is sitting on dharna in Kolkata against the CBI’s attempt to grill the city police chief in the chit fund scams, coveringSaradha.

“Today, the CBI is being brutally avoided by physical force and detention of its officer from investigating a crime legally within its jurisdiction, in the state of West Bengal. It is a textbook illustration of a state government assaulting federalism,” Jaitley said.

He said Banerjee’s decision to sit on a Dharna received the help of many opposition parties who aspire to be in power.

Most of them, or their affiliates, are today being investigated, prosecuted and in some cases have also been convicted for crimes of corruption, he said.

“Curiously, the AICC President somersaulted his position from Saradha being a scam to “shoulder-to-shoulder” support to scamster. Interestingly, the first family of Congress where most members are on bail. A non-ideological short-lived coalition of opposition is a disaster for India,” he further added.

Asking whether “New India” can be ever run by this “kleptocrat’s club”, Jaitley said those who have lent support to the West Bengal dharna are those who are battling serious allegations of economic improprieties, criminal misconduct, and even corruption.

“2019 Election will be either Modi Vs. Chaos or Modi Vs. Anarchy. Mamata Banerjee’s latest acrobatics are the best evidence of the kind of governance India’s opposition can provide,” Jaitley said.