At your peril: Buddha reply

Calcutta, Feb. 8: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today sent a reply through his counsel to Mukul Roy's legal notice saying he didn't make any defamatory remarks against Mamata Banerjee and that the Trinamul MP may move court "at his own peril".

In an interview to 24 Ghanta on Tuesday, the former chief minister had said he did not agree that Mamata was honest.

The legal notice, sent on Wednesday, had said Bhattacharjee would face a defamation suit if he did not apologise withing 48 hours.

Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya's junior Rabishankar Chatterjee sent the reply after getting Bhattacharjee's nod. It was sent to Roy's counsel Rajdeep Majumdar.

"Yes. Rabishankar today sent the reply to Trinamul's legal notice. We have mentioned that there's nothing defamatory that Buddhadebbabu said about the chief minister. Now, it's up to them to go to court or not," Bhattacharyya said.

The reply states: "I take this privilege to address you this letter on behalf of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in reply to your purported notice alleging defamation against him. I make it clear that Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did not make any defamatory comment as referred to in your letter. Even, inspite of that, if your client desires to move court, that he may do so at his own peril."

During the 24 Ghanta interview, when the interviewer said people consider Mamata as a symbol of honesty, Bhattacharjee had replied: "I don't agree that Mamata is a symbol of honesty."

Asked what prompted him to say so, he had said: "You probe it. The situation of her family in the past and what it is now. Let it be investigated. In my yardstick, I cannot place her as honest."

Roy, Trinamul's all-India general secretary, said this evening: "I don't know the contents of the reply. We will decide on our next step after consulting our legal advisors."

The CPM leadership today said the party would not have any problem if Trinamul filed a defamation suit against Bhattacharjee.

"We don't have any problem with that. Let Trinamul file the suit. Let Mamata prove in court she is honest. We think that will be enough of an embarrassment for her," CPM state secretariat member Gautam Deb said.

A few hours after the notice was served, minister Firhad Hakim had launched an attack on Bhattacharjee for committing a "sin".

Yesterday, Mamata voluntarily announced donations she would make with the proceeds from her paintings.

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