Misleading claims being made about asset increase of TMC leaders to malign party: Bengal ministers
Senior TMC minister Firhad Hakim

Kolkata: Senior TMC ministers Firhad Hakim and Moloy Ghatak on Wednesday dubbed the allegations of steady growth in the assets of some party leaders as misleading and half-truths .

The Calcutta High Court, while hearing a PIL alleging exponential increase in the assets of certain Bengal ministers and leaders, ordered on August 8 that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) be made a party in the matter.

Hakim pointed out that those TMC leaders named in the case had declared their source of income while filing income tax returns.

A misleading campaign has been deliberately organised to malign us. They are spreading half-truths. We have given a full declaration of our source of income during filing income tax returns. There is nothing wrong if there is an increase in your income. I have a business of my own, plus salary and perks as a minister, Hakim said.

The PIL was filed in February 2017, seeking an investigation into the increase in assets of ministers and leaders between 2011 and 2016, disproportionate to the known sources of income.

The Kolkata mayor and state municipal affairs minister termed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) as Politically Interested Litigation , aimed at targeting TMC leaders and maligning them.

We have nothing to say about the court order and have full faith in the judiciary. We just wanted to point at the political tricks the opposition parties are playing, he said.

Echoing him, state education minister Bratya Basu said the court order has mention of Congress and CPI (M) leaders, too, but names of TMC leaders and ministers are being selectively raised to malign the ruling party of Bengal.

Media houses are deliberately omitting mentions of some leaders, targeting only those from the TMC, thus spreading half-truths, he said, reading out names from from a list attached to a court order.

State Law Minister Moloy Ghatak, on his part, claimed that that there was nothing unnatural about the increase in assets, as none of that was illegal.

Suppose you have a house; it is natural that the price of the assets will go up after five years. If you have a fixed deposit, obviously, in five years, its valuation will increase due to the accumulation of interest. We have declared everything to the income tax department. If there is something illegal, let the income tax department point it out, he said.

The ED last month arrested senior Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee in connection with a scam related to the recruitment of teachers and non-teaching staff in government-sponsored and -aided schools.

Just because Partha Chatterjee has been arrested in a scam doesn’t mean the opposition parties have the right to malign all TMC leaders. We don’t know this Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested. This is not the same person we had known for years, Hakim added.

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