Calcutta, May 4: The default crisis has claimed its first political victim with the CPM expelling a local committee member for alleged proximity to Saradha chief Sudipta Sen and daring Trinamul to act against its bigwigs linked to the group.
The axed comrade is Ganesh Dey, confidential assistant to Asim Dasgupta when he was finance minister and member of the party committee in Dasgupta’s constituency Khardah.
Dey, summoned by police on Wednesday after Sen apparently mentioned him, is said to have told investigators he knew the Saradha boss and had met him several times.
“He exploited his position by seeking favours (from Sen). We didn’t waste time: within 24 hours of Dey admitting his links with Saradha, we’ve expelled him,” said Gautam Deb, the CPM North 24-Parganas district secretary. He underlined that though Dey had neither been arrested nor booked, the CPM had acted because of the “gravity of the matter”.
Usually, if a party member faces allegations, the CPM issues a stricture at a meeting or publicly censures him or her. If the party believes the offence has serious implications, a probe is conducted and action taken only if the accused is found guilty.
But none of these steps were followed in Dey’s case and he was summarily expelled, a decision the state committee will later have to ratify.
“We have acted against a party member just for his association with Sen. Can the Trinamul take some action against its leaders who had links with Sen?” Deb asked.
The Trinamul leaders accused of Saradha links include party general secretary Mukul Roy, MPs Kunal Ghosh, Srinjoy Bose and Satabdi Roy, and transport minister Madan Mitra.
Mamata Banerjee, however, appears to be shielding them and attempting to deflect attention to how sham deposit-collection companies mushroomed during Left rule.
At a party meeting yesterday, she had asked: “Is Kunal a thief? Is Madan a thief? Is Tumpai (Srinjoy) a thief? Is Mukul a thief? Am I a thief? Are all of us thieves? And the rest are saints!”
She repeated the point at a rally in Panihati today, which suggested the party was unlikely to act against any of these leaders in a hurry.
“Taking action against a party leader means owning responsibility (for the scandal). Why should we do that?” asked a Trinamul leader.
Trinamul, however, has been prompt to demand the resignation of railway minister Pawan Bansal over bribery allegations against his nephew. “Should Bansal resign? In his place, I would have. But Congress ministers seem to apply Fevicol before sitting down on a chair,” MP Derek O’Brien said.