BSS monk sends legal notice to Didi for apology

Banerjee later clarified that she spoke against only a few individuals and not any institution

Kolkata: A Bharat Sevashram Sangha (BSS) monk, Swami Pradiptananda alias Kartik Maharaj, sent a legal notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, seeking her apology within 48 hours for allegedly trying to defame him.

Buckling under pressure, Banerjee later clarified that she spoke against only a few individuals and not any institution but justified her tirade against the monk, who is the secretary of the BSS at Aurangabad in Murshidabad.

The monk’s notice asked the CM, “ forthwith address the press and issue an unconditional apology and retract your virulent and mala fide statement as aforesaid within 48 hours from receipt of the instant notice and cease and desist from making further similar statements against my client, be it on any website, newsprint or television channel defaming and maligning my client.”

The notice, issued by the monk’s legal counsel, said, “I must ask you to let me have a reply within 4 days of receipt of this letter. If I do not receive any reply, my client will understand and proceed on the basis that you wanted to give and have given wide publicity to the defamatory content with intent to falsely and maliciously defame my client and the Bharat Sevashram Sangha. My client fully reserves his right to take further appropriate action. including initiation of criminal cases against you for making such baseless, false, frivolous, slanderous and malicious statements...”

Mamata Banerjee later said at a Trinamul Congress poll campaign rally in Onda of Bankura, “I’m not against Ramakrishna Mission. Why would I be against a particular institution or defame it? I even went to visit Maharaj few days ago when he was ill. That's not an issue. I only spoke about one or two people. The BSS has an office and ashram in Sagar Island. They love me a lot and serve people.”

She added, “I named one man. He is Kartik Maharaj. He did not allow TMC to field agents and also masterminded the riot in Murshidabad before the polls. That's why I took his name. He was earlier with Adhir (Choudhury of the Congress) but is now in the BJP. He runs an ashram at Rejinagar where the riot happened. I have no problem with his ashram. But when I enquired about our party agents’ absence at (polling booths, I was told that Kartik Maharaj said he would not allow them.”

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