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Saradha scam: Trinamool Congress leader Srinjoy Bose steps down as MP

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Kolkata (Feb. 06, 2015): Mamata Banerjee on Thursday suffered an unexpected blow as Srinjoy Bose, Trinamool Congress' Rajya Sabha MP, resigned from the party and the upper house of Parliament. Bose, who was arrested by the CBI in November for his alleged links to the Saradha chit fund scam, was granted a conditional bail by a city court on Wednesday and a few hours after he was freed, the ailing MP announced his decision.

Bose's sudden resignation has surprised many because they never thought that he could quit the party. "We won't be surprised if our MPs like Dinesh Trivedi or Suvendu Adhikari leave us. But we had never thought of Bose to quit us," said a senior Trinamool Congress leader.

Even party chief and chief minister Banerjee wasn't expecting such a decision, say party leaders. But Trinamool has accepted Bose's resignation and said it would soon announce its candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat that will become vacant with Bose's resignation.

"It is Srinjoy's personal choice. It is his prerogative. It is his democratic right," party spokesman Derek O' Brien said in a statement. While the party was soft to Bose on its comments, its statement indicated possible influence of BJP in his decision. "We have been saying for some time now that he has been put under tremendous pressure by the party in power at the Centre. He was released on bail yesterday. He resigned today. Did this pressure lead to some coordination? We are happy that he got freedom yesterday," the party statement said. "We wish Srinjoy well in all that he does. We wish him a speedy recovery. Our warm wishes to him and his entire family."

The party's soft stand on Bose is in contrast to its line even on Mukul Roy, who was interrogated and freed by the CBI on January 30.

Ever since the CBI launched it's probe into the Saradha chit fund scam and arrested minister Madan Mitra and two party MPs - Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose - Trinamool has been alleging that the BJP was hatching a conspiracy against them and trying to reduce the number of their MPs in the Rajya Sabha because the saffron party does not have majority in the Upper House. "The BJP is targeting our MPs in the Rajya Sabha. The party is issuing threats to many of our MPs and asking them to join the saffron brigade. They have threatened Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari," Banerjee herself told a closed-door core-committee meeting of her party last week.

Trinamool had 12 MPs in the Rajya Sabha before Bose's resignation. Interestingly, Mukul Roy and Kunal Ghosh, both Rajya Sabha MPs, are under CBI scanner. Another Rajya Sabha MP, Ahmed Hassan Imran, is under the scanner of the National Investigation Agency in connection with the Khagragarh blast which took place in West Bengal's Burdwan district on October 2 last year.

Bose, after resigning from the party and Parliament, didn't reply questions about what he plans to do next. But speculations are rife that he might join the BJP once he gets clean chits from both the CBI and courts. Bose's friend circles, however, said he had lost faith on Trinamool and realised that the ruling party would not be able to protect him from the current spate of troubles he has been going through.