After Calcutta High Court earlier made the Enforcement Directorate (ED) party to a PIL on increase in assets of 19 TMC MLAs, three TMC heavyweights today appealed to the court to reconsider its decision, while the CPI-M has issued a deadline to the cabinet minister Bratya Basu to either petition the court to prove his allegations of increased assets of some CPI-M party leaders, or face defamation.
The mercury in Bengal politics is on the rise as allegations of corruption and consequent increase in assets of ruling party leaders have provided fodder for the opposition parties.
Today, three heavyweight ministers in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet submitted a plea to the High Court asking it to reconsider its decision of making the ED party to the PIL.
The ministers are Firhad Hakim, Jyotipriyo Mullick and Arup Roy. A few days ago, these ministers called a press conference to argue that they are being targeted and maligned for no fault of theirs.
Mr Hakim, especially, clarified that although the former cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee’s arrest by the ED in the SSC bribery case has caused embarrassment for the entire party, it cannot be used as an excuse to call every member of the party a thief.
Cabinet minister Bratya Basu meanwhile read out names of opposition party members, mainly belonging to the CPI-M and Congress, who he alleged were also named in the list of political leaders who have disproportionate assets over the years.
The CPI-M state secretary Md Salim has now challenged Bratya Basu to lodge a petition in court, by 12 September, demanding an ED probe into the assets of the CPI-M leaders he alleged have disproportionate assets or face a defamation suit.
Mr Salim alleged that Mr Basu and his TMC colleagues have mixed up petition and order. “The order of the High Court is clearly to probe into assets of 19 TMC MLAs based on a PIL.
It follows from the direction of the apex court to Income Tax and ED to probe into anomalies in the declaration of assets in affidavits filed before elections by political leaders.”
He noted that this probe into assets of TMC MLAs is for the time period 2011-2016.
“Wait till another petition is filed to probe the growth of assets between the year, 2016-21.” CPI-M central committee member Sujan Chakraborty, reacting to today’s development, said, “It is solely out of fear of an ED probe that the TMC ministers now have pleaded with the court to reconsider its decision.
The corruption and its proceeds have led to massive growth in the assets of TMC leaders. They do not need to shout out their innocence but instead, the ones who think they are honest should immediately move away from TMC