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‘Abuse of central agencies since 2014’: TMC passes motion in Bengal Assembly


West Bengal’s parliament on Monday passed a motion against the ‘misuse of central agencies’ for attacking the ruling Trinamool Congress. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a strike in the House.

The Saffron Party claimed that the presence of its members in the Assembly at the reading of the motion would be “equivalent to supporting corruption cases,” according to the PTI news agency.

Senior TMC MLA Tapas Roy filed the motion under Section 185 of the Rules of Procedure and Code of Conduct in the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal.

“Since 2014, the country has witnessed rampant abuse of central agencies for harassing political leaders,” Roy said, referring to opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari’s claim that Minister Parth Bhowmik will be put behind bars within a month.

“We have seen the leader of the opposition threaten members of the state’s ruling party, including ministers, with dire consequences,” he added.

Bhowmik had filed a privilege motion against Adhikari, PTI reported.

Minister of State Chandrima Bhattacharya said on the motion that the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigations are selectively targeting TMC leaders and officials, creating an atmosphere of fear.

She said the only motive of central authorities is to defame TMC. “The BJP cannot fight us politically, so they use central agencies against us.”

However, BJP chief whip Manoj Tigga later refuted the allegations, calling it ‘baseless’. “We walked out thinking that staying there is tantamount to supporting what the TMC says, which is nothing but a blatant lie.”

Several TMC leaders and ministers have been arrested by the central authorities in the recent past for their alleged involvement in fraud and corruption cases.

TMC leader Santanu Banerjee detained by ED in WB teacher recruitment scam

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday arrested the chief of the TMC Youth Department, Santanu Banerjee, after interrogating him for eight hours in Kolkata in connection with the teacher scam case. He has now been sent to the central authority for 11 days.

The TMC youth leader was arraigned by ED in the city’s session court on Monday. He will appear in court again on March 24 following his 11-day ED detention.

The case was registered by order of the High Court of Calcutta against the then Minister-in-charge, Department of School Education, West Bengal, and others over the allegations of illegal appointment of assistant teacher for classes of 11th and 12th standard.

It was further alleged that the then adviser to the West Bengal Central School Service Commission was part of the network involved in illegally housing undeserving candidates for appointment in SSC scam cases.

Former West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee are facing an investigation into the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam.

Last year, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) had filed a prosecution complaint against eight accused including Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee in the West Bengal Teachers Recruitment Scam before the PMLA Special Court, Kolkata.

(with PTI inputs)

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.