Three ministers of the West Bengal cabinet approached the Calcutta High Court on Friday with a plea to review and reconsider the court’s earlier decision directing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to be party to a public interest litigation (PIL) on the growth of assets of 19 Trinamool Congress leaders including a number of state government ministers.
On August 8, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court’s chief justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bhardwaj directed the ED to be party in the PIL regarding the assets and property details of 19 heavyweight leaders, including seven incumbent ministers in West Bengal.
On Friday, three “heavyweight” ministers of the state cabinet — Municipal Affairs & Urban Development Minister and Kolkata Mayor, Firhad Hakim; Forest Minister, Jyotipriyo Mullick, and Cooperation department minister, Arup Roy, approached the same bench with a plea to reconsider the decision.
Soon after the directive of the Calcutta High Court’s division bench, Education Minister Bratya Basu, who has also been named in the PIL, said that names of Trinamool leaders were selectively included in the PIL, whereas the names of several Congress and CPI-M leaders, including some former ministers in the Left Front regime, are currently under judicial scanner for sudden rise in the quantum of their properties and assets.
He specifically named CPI-M politburo member Suryakanta Mishra and state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on this count.
Opposition leaders have ridiculed Trinamool Congress over the issue.
“It is the legal right for anyone to approach any court with an appeal for reconsideration of any decision. But the desperation of the ministers shows how frightened they are of ED, after the same agency arrested one former heavyweight cabinet minister in connection with the teacher’s recruitment scam,” said BJP’s West Bengal spokesman, Samik Bhattacharya.
Senior Congress leader and former party legislator, Manoj Bhattacharya said that if the ruling party ministers consider themselves to be clean, they should not have any objection to inclusion of ED as a party in the PIL.