The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM plans graft purge

Dec. 18: The CPM leadership, alarmed at reports about corruption in the organisation, has asked all its 34,000 units across Bengal to identify 'corrupt' members and remove them from the party.

The warning from Alimuddin Street has been published in a recent document and distributed among party functionaries on the eve of organisational elections. The caution comes in the backdrop of party conferences across Bengal, which will culminate in the state party conference in February preceding the 18th party congress.

The document, edited by CPM state secretary and politburo member Anil Biswas, also called upon party members to maintain transparency in the organisation.

'We have watched very carefully how incidents of corruption are affecting different levels of our party. It is also seen that many have fulfilled their own personal interests by engaging themselves as brokers in land deals. Persons with tainted images are used for this purpose. Unholy relations with contractors and factory owners have also developed at the cost of workers' interests,' Biswas said in the document.

'Sometimes, corruption and immoral activities are also treated as normal affairs and there are many incidents in which relatives of our party members are favoured,' the document said.

Biswas' home district, Nadia, has taken the lead in wiping out corruption among party members. The district leadership has published a document and criticised CPM workers for encouraging corrupt practices in central government schemes such as the Indira Awaas Yojna ' a housing scheme for the rural poor.

'A section of leaders used their position in the party to collect money for themselves and their relatives in the name of the central schemes. The party has information that even old-age pension has been withdrawn by our party men,' said the report prepared by the district committee.

In April last year, Sattar Sheikh, the upapradhan of Bhatjangla Gram Panchayat in Krishnagar, a CPM member, was found involved in corrupt practices. Sattar had reportedly forged the signature of the panchayat pradhan to withdraw money in the name of a dead relative. The police arrested Sattar after the district magistrate lodged an FIR.

Joydev Hawaldar, a local committee member in Krishnagunj and the pradhan of a panchayat in Majdia, was found guilty of misappropriating government funds by using his position in the party and in the local panchayat.

Leaders in Burdwan and Nadia districts have also started identifying members involved in corrupt practices, some of whom have been dropped from district panels.

The Nadia district leadership has dropped Radhanath Biswas, a former district secretary and sabhadhipati, as well as Ramakanta Biswas, Bansibadan Sarkar and Dilip Chakraborty for alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

More than 12 corrupt CPM members were dropped from party units in the district, sources said, adding that some leaders will be expelled after the party's state conference, to be held in February at Kamarhati in North 24-Parganas.

In Burdwan, Citu leader Benoy Krishna Chakraborty was dropped from the district unit. Harish Kar, husband of former minister Anju Kar and Biren Ghosh were also dropped from the district unit.

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