Calcutta, Sept. 28: The Trinamul Congress today suspended Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh for alleged anti-party statements, two days before Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to address a general council meeting where the focus is likely to be on discipline within the party.
MPs Tapas Pal and Satabdi Roy, who had vented their ire at a section of the party at the same programme where Ghosh made the alleged anti-party comments, were spared after they apologised. All three MPs had been showcaused.
A Trinamul source said Mamata had given the party’s disciplinary committee the go-ahead to take action against Ghosh, a journalist-turned-MP. “She had communicated her decision to the disciplinary committee two days ago…. The committee sent a suspension letter to Ghosh,” a Trinamul source said.
Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy, secretary-general Partha Chatterjee and state president Subrata Bakshi are members of the committee.
“Ghosh has been suspended pending further inquiry…. The suspension is with immediate effect and will continue till further orders,” Chatterjee said at a news conference at Trinamul Bhavan in Topsia.
Chatterjee said the final decision on Ghosh’s future would be taken after the inquiry is over.
Ghosh, who had been showcaused after he broached the Saradha issue at a programme in Calcutta on September 20, told The Telegraph: “Had I received the showcause letter, I would have replied. I will talk to Mukulda and Parthada to explain my position…. I was the party’s soldier when it was down in the dumps.”
At a blood-donation camp organised by MP Somen Mitra and his wife Sikha, Ghosh had said he would not be a scapegoat and allow the Saradha issue to fizzle out. “Hand me over to the CBI. I won’t remain silent if I am made a scapegoat,” he had said.
Industries minister Chatterjee said Ghosh continued to make “anti-party statements and malign” the image of the party. “So we held a meeting of the disciplinary committee on September 27 and took the decision.”
He added that the party would not take any action against actors Pal and Satabdi Roy as both of them had apologised for their actions. “But we are keeping tabs on who is doing what…. Nobody is above party discipline,” Chatterjee said.
Although the Saradha default crisis, which affected at least 18 lakh people, did not have any impact on Trinamul’s poll fortunes, the names of many Trinamul leaders, including Ghosh, had cropped up in connection with the group and its arrested owner Sudipto Sen.
“After the Saradha bubble burst, Mamatadi had tried to defend him (Ghosh) by saying he was only an employee. But he took things too far and had to face the consequences,” a Trinamul leader close to Mamata said.
Ghosh was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April 2012 and his six-year term will end in 2018 despite the suspension. “A suspended MP of either House can continue as an unattached member and will not be governed by the party whip,” said Somnath Chatterjee, former Lok Sabha Speaker.
MP aide held
Somnath Dutta, the vice-president of the Saradha Group’s media wing and a close aide of Satabdi Roy, was arrested this evening from his Salt Lake home in connection with non-payment of salaries of employees of Tara Newz and defaulting on provident fund dues.