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Calcutta High Court accepts PIL on Trinamul Congress leaders’ assets

Responding to the PIL, the division bench has asked the petitioner to make the Enforcement Directorate (ED) a party in the case and decided to hear the matter later
Calcutta High Court.
Calcutta High Court.

Tapas Ghosh   |   Calcutta   |   Published 09.08.22, 01:31 AM

Calcutta High Court on Monday accepted a public interest litigation demanding the assessment of properties of 19 ministers and legislators of the Trinamul Congress, including Calcutta mayor and minister Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra and MP Arjun Singh.

Biplab Roy Chowdhury, who is a subordinate court lawyer, had filed the PIL in 2017. The PIL had been pending for disposal since then.A division bench headed by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava accepted the PIL for hearing on Monday. 

The petitioner based his argument on the basis of affidavits filed by the 19 leaders for the Assembly polls in 2011 and in 2016.Referring to the pending PIL, advocate Sabyasachi Chatterjee and others approached the division bench headed by the Chief Justice on Monday.

Chatterjee argued that in 2017, Roy Chowdhury had said some of the leaders of the ruling party were “cheating the public”.Responding to the PIL, the division bench has asked the petitioner to make the Enforcement Directorate (ED) a party in the case and decided to hear the matter later.

“Since then (2017), a series of incidents has happened that saw the arrest of several heavyweight ruling party leaders in connection with various scams and legal proceedings had been started against them. In such a situation, the PIL filed by my client is very significant and the court should hear it with immediate effect and take necessary steps,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer also claimed that visuals that emerged after the arrest of former education and industry minister Partha Chatterjee and the recovery of piles of cash and ornaments from his associate had made relevant the public demand to reassess belongings of other heavyweights of Trinamul.

The lawyer pleaded that between 2011, when Trinamul had unseated the Left Front to rule Bengal, and 2016, the movable and immovable assets of the 19 ruling party leaders, including ministers, had increased exponentially.Roy Chowdhury’s counsel urged the court to find out how the assets of those leaders had increased so much in a span of five years. 

After hearing the lawyer, the Chief Justice advised the petitioner to make the ED respondent in the case by September 12. Justice Shrivastava said the division bench would hear the case once the ED was made the party.BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said he expected the court to look into the allegations. Sujan Chakraborty of the CPM said the party wanted the central agency to start a suo motu probe against ministers for amassing wealth “disproportionate to their income”.

Minister Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra and MP Arjun Singh declined comments on the PIL.Reacting to the PIL, Trinamul minister Babul Supriyo told reporters that the ED should also probe BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari’s “disproportionate wealth”.



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