Kolkata, Aug 8 (IANS) The CPI-M West Bengal state committee on Tuesday recommended punitive action against party Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee over lifestyle-related allegations.
Briefing media persons after a two-day session of the committee, state party secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said the three-member commission formed to look into the allegations found basis in the charges, though the final decision would be taken by the Central Committee.
“The commission has submitted its recommendations to the state committee. The state committee feels he needs rectification. The allegations have some basis.
“We don’t want to give him the maximum punishment that is spelt out in our constitution. But punitive action will be taken. The rectification process will continue,” he said.
But Mishra said the exact corrective step has to be approved by the Central Committee.
He also categorically said the three-month suspension slapped on Banerjee would continue.
“He has to rectify. He is a young comrade. We have also considered his contribution in various fora like parliament at such a young age.”
In June, the CPI-M placed Banerjee under three-month suspension over the allegations and asked the commission to give its report by August 2.
The party had in February issued a “public warning” to Banerjee for threatening a party supporter who had raised questions in the social media about the source of funds of the young leader’s expensive watch and pen.
The issue related to a Facebook post by a party worker who pasted a photo of Banerjee with a MontBlanc pen and Apple smartwatch and questioned how – despite being a party wholetimer – he could afford such expensive gadgets.
As the post became viral, Banerjee took umbrage, and threatened to lodge a police complaint against the worker for making “hate speeches” and maligning him on social media. The MP further mailed the human resource department of the Bengaluru-based start up where the worker was employed and asked them to “look into the matter”.
Banerjee’s e-mail also got leaked on the social media, triggering a wave of protests against his behaviour.
An embarrassed CPI-M central leadership asked the state committee – of which Banerjee is a member – to deal with the issue.
As the matter raised a storm, Banerjee apologised to the party’s state secretariat for shooting off a mail to the party worker’s employer.