"A leader of their party had come and accused me. I don't want to take his name. He himself is accused of perpetuating riots. I have those records also. He has accused me of duping 17 lakh people. Either he has to reply or has to accept that he has made a wrong statement," Banerjee said in an interview to a local TV channel.
Banerjee said this in an apparent reference to BJP president Amit Shah, but did not name him. The BJP president had last week alleged that the West Bengal chief minister's associates and "stooges" were involved in the Saradha Ponzi scam and asked her to quit office if she can't act against the wrong-doers.
Asserting that BJP was not afraid of anyone, Shah said those involved in the scam would be arrested and put behind bars. Banerjee wondered how he can say that "we duped the masses in Saradha Scam" and expressed surprise "from where he he gets such an audacity".
"People will give him a befitting reply. Saradha chit fund company didn't come up during my regime but during the Left regime. And not 17 lakh but 12 lakh investors were duped in the Saradha scam. He should cross check his facts from his friends," Banerjee said.
She went on to claim, "We from our government treasury had returned money to five lakh investors. The CBI is now investigating. They will return the money to the rest of the seven lakh people. If CBI can't, then Arun Jaitley (Union Finance Minister) will return the money."
Banerjee also slammed Shah's statement that those who are culprits will be arrested and jailed. "We hate chit funds. We have arrested main culprit. Now they are spreading canards against me. They are saying that they will put me behind bars. Where from they get such an audacity? Those who are saying this have themselves been to prison. I know all their dirty acts, people from Gujarat have only given me those evidences," said Banerjee.
She also said that a bill framed by the state government to contain chit fund companies in the state had been withheld by the Centre.
"Chit funds are not under state governments, but under the central government. Chit Funds are looked by the RBI and SEBI, and central government," she said.
Banerjee claimed that a big chit fund company in New Delhi had duped the investors of Rs 45,000 crore.
"What were they doing then when investors were getting cheated of around Rs 45,000 crore by a chit fund company near Delhi? They only brag about religion and are busy chanting "NAMO, NAMO," Banerjee said.