Paul passed away at a Mumbai hospital early on Tuesday after a cardiac arrest. People close to him have said “he was not the same person” after spending 13 months in custody following his arrest for alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam.
Mamata, while condoling the bereaved family before Paul’s last rites, said the actor-turned-politician had “left before he came to know what his fault was”. She went on to add that Paul was not the “sole victim”. Bengal former minister Sultan Ahmed and former TMC MP Prasun Banerjee’s wife, too, died early because of the “humiliation” they faced because of the Centre’s “retaliation conspiracy”, she added. Both Ahmed and Prasun Banerjee were named by CBI in its FIR in the Narada case.
“I am being forced to repeat something that I have said earlier. Some mistook me at that time and felt what I had said was out of political compulsion. But that was not the case. Tapas felt mentally shattered, ruined after an agency put Bengal’s number-one actor behind bars for no less than one year and one month. He could not take the insult any longer. He left us before he came to know what his fault was,” the CM said, alluding to Paul’s CBI arrest and time spent in custody.
“I came to know from Sudipda (Trinamool Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay), who too was in custody, that Tapas was arrested because he drew salary as a director of an entertainment channel run by the company that was under CBI scanner. Tollywood stars work with several production houses and entertainment channels. Some are also brand ambassadors. But they are falling victim to vendetta politics. Is this fair?” Mamata said.
Referring to Ahmed’s death, Mamata said: “I came to know from his family that he got a letter and a phone call and then went to the washroom and died.”
Mamata’s comments drew sharp criticism from Union minister and Paul’s tinsel-town friend Babul Supriyo, who condemned “the nasty politics” over the actor’s death. “I want to ask her why she chose to avoid Paul when he was in custody in a room next to Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s. She went to Bhubaneswar and paid a visit to Bandyopadhyay but ignored Paul,” Supriyo tweeted.