Those expelled were former Rajarhat MLA Tamnoy Mandal, Rajarhat councillor Sukhen Chakraborty and former leader of the Opposition Shankarnarayan Dutta.
Though the official reason for the expulsion was stated to be “anti-party activities and hobnobbing with the CPM”, sources in the Trinamool said that these leaders were involved in the land scam. The party has, however, refrained from taking any action against Arabul Islam — the Trinamool MLA from Bhangar whose brother Azizul Islam is one of the prime accused in the Vedic Village arson case.
The decision to expel the leaders came on a day when Banerjee held a rally close to the Vedic Village site. Defending her party, Banerjee alleged that the CPM-led state government is conspiring to malign her leaders by doctoring statements through Gaffar Mollah — the kingpin in the land-grabbing case who was arrested today. She also threatened to soon launch a Nandigram-Singur type agitation in Rajarhat and demanded the state government to return the “forcibly-acquired” lands to farmers.
“I have been told that the Vedic Village promoters received bank loans for purchasing land for the project. I did not know that bank loan is available for purchasing land. The chief minister and other ministers are involved,” Banerjee said, asking for a CBI inquiry into the land-grabbing allegations in the Vedic Village project, a demand promptly rejected by state Home Secretary Ardhendhu Sen.
“About 10 lakh people in Rajarhat, most of who belong to minority community, were forced to give up their plots to land mafias close to the CPM,” she alleged.
She also directed her party leaders to form a save farmland committee at Rajarhat akin to those formed in Singur and Nandigram.
“A state sponsored terrorism is on at Rajarhat. Like Singur and Nandigram, we will start an agitation here for the return of land. We will hold another rally shortly,” she said.
“I did not betray the people of Singur or Nandigram I will also not betray you. You have to fight the state-sponsored terrorism,” she said.
Coming down heavily on the Left Front government for failing to offer land to major IT giants like Wipro and Infosys, Banerjee said: “The state government has given land to some IT units. But they have failed miserably to hand over the plots to Wipro and Infosys. It’s a shame.”
Meanwhile, Arabul Islam was conspicuous by his absence from the rally.