The war of words between West Bengal CHief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar reached a flash-point on Monday after the CM alleged that the Governor was named in the 1996 Hawala Jain case.
Strongly refuting the charges, Dhankhar said that he did not expect the Chief Minister to engage in “sensation premised on misrepresentation and untruth”.
“This Governor’s name figured in the Jain Hawala case. But they have gone to court and cleared it. There is a PIL which is pending. The Governor is a totally corrupt person. He was named in the Jain Hawala charge-sheet. He had moved the court and got his name removed. But one writ petition is still pending which has his name,” Banerjee said on Monday, adding that she has written three letters to the President seeking the removal of the Governor.
Banerjee was speaking in the backdrop of the Governor’s recent demand for a special audit in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration on charges of corruption. He made the demand on the day a BJP delegation met him in Darjeeling and demanded an audit of the GTA’s expenses.
“I am shocked to hear something from a leader of her stature. This is an effort to create sensation and spread misinformation and misrepresentation. The entire world knows that no one has been convicted in the Hawala Jain case. It is in the public domain who are the people who have been charge-sheeted,” Dhankhar said.
“Ajit Panja was charge-sheeted in the Hawala case and he was acquitted. Your Governor was not even charge-sheeted. There is no such document. This is far from the truth. This is plain and simple untruth. This is misinformation. I did not expect this from a seasoned politician,” he added.
Taking a dig at the media, Dhankhar said, “I was surprised to see the media in a shyness mode. Why no questions have been asked about the people who have been charge-sheeted. I have come to know about the pathetic state of affairs of the media,” Dhankhar said.
The Governor went on to say that this allegation has been levelled only because he had objected to some portions of the speech that had been sent to him to be read in the Budget Session.
“I will tell you why this has happened. I came back from North Bengal and found the speech I was supposed to deliver on the first day of the Budget Session. I found some portions which no one will believe. I wrote a letter to the Chief Minister asking her to give some time ‘tomorrow’ so that we can have a deliberation on the speech,” Dhankhar said.
“She called me immediately after that and said that the speech has been approved by the cabinet. It was just 10 minutes before the press conference. I told her as the Governor of the state, it was my duty to have discussion with the state government so that there is no confusion. I asked her for a deliberation. She told me that she would get back to me,” Dhankhar added, hinting that it was only because of this reason that the Chief Minister has made this kind of ‘wild’ allegation.
Banerjee also termed the Governor’s visit to North Bengal as a political stunt, claiming that he had only met MLAs and MPs of the BJP.
“Why did he suddenly tour North Bengal? I can sense a conspiracy to divide North Bengal,” she said, apparently referring to the BJP leaders’ demands for separate statehood for North Bengal and Jangalmahal.
“Why should the Governor dictate a government that won a huge mandate,” Banerjee asked.
As per the Constitution, I will continue to meet him, talk to him and follow all the courtesies… But the Union government should act based on my letters,” she said.
“There was no election after 2017. Democracy has been stiffened; it has been decimated in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). GTA was reduced to a government department. It was the den of nepotism, den of corruption, den of inefficiency. Everyone asked why there was no audit? Thousands of cores of rupees have come, but why is there no audit? I sought for a report but there was no report,” Dhankhar alleged.
“There shall be an audit by the CAG because it has been proposed by the legislature,” he added.