File pic of Sudip Bandopadhyay
A frail and fumbling Trinamool Congress parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, who has been granted bail after spending four and a half months in custody in connection with the Rose Valley scam, on Sunday claimed he was not corrupt and would return to politics as soon he was adjudged fit by doctors.
Urging people to have faith in him, Bandopadhyay said: “Time will prove that, whatever else I may be, I never intended to do my politics with the stamp of corruption. I am not corrupt.”
Bandopadhyay, a Lok Sabha member, also denied any possibility of leaving politics or joining any other party.
“No no, why should I leave politics? I am sick. I will take rest for a few days. Let me get cured first. I will be back in politics wholeheartedly,” Bandopadhyay said.
“Ma, Mati, Manush Zindabad (Long live Mother, soil and people — Trinamool’s pet slogan), Trinamool Congress zindaad (Long live Trinamool Congress), Mamata Banerjee zindabad (Long live Mamata Banerjee- Trinamool supremo),” he added.
Bandopadhyay was granted bail on Friday by the Odisha High Court on health grounds but on the condition that he surrenders his passport, deposits a bond of Rs 25 lakh, and cooperates with the investigators while desisting from any efforts to influence the probe.
He was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on January 3.
About reports that the CBI would move the Supreme Court challenging his bail, the MP said: “I have seen such reports. But I have confidence in the judiciary.”
Likening West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee to a “goddess”, Bandopadhyay said: “I have built my political career bit by bit over 45 years, through struggle. It will be wrong to smear it with black ink. I am not guilty.”
Bandopadhyay said all his financial transactions, assets, property were there in the public domain.
“My leader Mamata Banerjee is the epitome of honesty. I bow to her honesty. I am her follower. Nobody is going to believe that I am corrupt. I will again come back to political life.”
Bandopadhyay, known as an articulate leader, spoke haltingly and was even seen groping for words during the interview.
Countering the CBI’s argument in court that Banerjee’s recent trip to Odisha to meet the MP proved that he was influential, Bandopadhyay said: “We have been together in politics for long. We are also the founding members of the party (Trinamool). So she came to see me.”
Bandopadhyay said his health has been very bad since sometime back.
“Now I am somewhat better. Doctors are saying I have to be under (medical) supervision for some more days.”
Bandopadhyay said he had an irregular heartbeat, and suffered from breathlessness and chest pain.
On the CBI charges against him, the Trinamool leader said: “They have alleged that my travel agent was paid Rs 18 lakh (by Rose Valley) for my foreign trip, and on two occasions I was given Rs five lakh each in 2010 and 2011. It comes to Rs 27 lakh.”
“CBI is a premier Indian agency. Let them probe. If they find me guilty, let them punish me. But I want to say I have confidence in the judiciary…”
Asked about his experiences over the past four and a half months, Bandopadhyay said he spent the initial days in jail, and then he was admitted to hospital.
“I spent 21 days in the ICU of the SCB Medical College in Cuttack. And then, the CBI court sent me to Apollo Hospital, Bhubaneswar.”
Bandopadhyay, who is scheduled to return to Kolkata later in the day, said he had nothing against the CBI “who are doing their duty”.