Kolkata, Apr 28 UNI | 3 months ago

The Election Commission today sought a report on BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's speech on the purported buyer of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's painting, while Sudipta Sen, the main accused in the Saradha ponzie scam denied having bought any such artwork.

Taking a suo motu move, the EC asked the District administration of Hooghly to submit a detailed report on Mr Modi's speech at Sreerampur in which he raised questions on who bought Ms Banerjee's painting for Rs 1.80 crore.

"In context of Modi's speech regarding Ms Banerjee and her painting, we have taken suo motu cognisance and directed the Hooghly district magistrate to file a detailed report along with video of the speech within 24 hours," Amit Roy Chowdhury, officer on special duty with the chief electoral officer, said.

Though the Trinamool Congress today lodged a complaint with the EC, saying the BJP leader's speech was violative of the model code of conduct, Mr Chowdhury said the EC's move was taken before the complaint was filed.

Seeking unconditional apology from Mr Modi, the TMC also threatened to file defamation suit against him.

Meanwhile, Saradha group owner Sudipta Sen, who is now behind bars, told reporters during one of his court appearances that the painting was not bought for any money.

"The painting was not bought for any money," said Sen, to queries at what price the painting was purchased.

"I don't know about any such purchase of painting, I did not purchase any painting," he said.

While Saradha scam became a major poll issue in West Bengal with the Congress, Left parties and the BJP--all attacking the Trinamool Congress Government holding it responsible-- Mr Modi's speech hinting at Sudipta Sen being the buyer of Ms Banerjee's painting opened up the door of a fresh wave of bitter political war.

(Posted on 28-04-2014)