West Bengal govt refutes Mukul Roy's allegations against Biswa Bangla
Mukul Roy, who recently defected from All India Trinamool Congress to BJP, accused two AITC leaders of irregularities: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee and West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee. He made these charges at a rally Kolkata’s Rani Rashomoni Road on Friday. This was his first rally after joining BJP.
Roy claimed that Biswa Bangla which is officially a brand of the state government is privately owned by Abhishek Banerjee. On Saturday, the West Bengal government issued a statement countering Roy’s allegations.
“I have access to certain documents which show that Biswa Bangla is a private limited company owned by Abhishek Banerjee, although it was claimed that it is a state government entity. You would have heard that the Under 17 Fifa World Cup was sponsored by Biswa Bangla and Banerjee herself declared it in an open press conference.”
According to Roy, “Jago Bangla, the AITC mouthpiece is also a private company owned by Abhishek Banerjee. All party pamphlets and hoardings were published through Jago Bangla. Banerjee has used state government for her private gains”.
He alleged that AITC has become a private limited company.
Roy also displayed an advertisement to allege that some chit fund companies like I –core and Prayag have funded the puja committee of Naktala Udayan Sangha , whose vice-president is Partha Chatterjee.
Roy said “AITC claims that no leaders are involved in chit fund companies. But there is a newspaper photograph in which Chatterjee is praising the daughter of the chairman of I–core and saying that the company should open up more branches as it will help create more jobs in the state.”
Responding to Roy’s allegations, West Bengal chief secretary Malay De said “Biswa Bangla is a government entity and no single individual is its owner. We have got valid papers. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself has given us the permission to use this logo.”
According to Roy, “Mamata convened three meetings with Saradha chief Sudipto Sen, one at the state government’s Deolo tourist lodge and the other two at the residence of painter Subhaprasanna Bhattacharya. But till now everybody thought that only one meeting took place”.
Banerjee replied to Roy's comment and said, “Nobody can find anything wrong in Biswa Bangla”.
Partha Chatterjee , state parliamentary affairs minister mocked Roy and said "We have seen many betrayals in the party and Roy is one of them. He can’t prove anything. If he can prove that Jago Bangla's owner is Abhishek Banerjee I will leave politics. The Chief Minister gave her own salary to run the local newspaper Jago Bangla. There is a need for a detailed investigation on how Roy got funds for the Kali puja organised at Kanchrapara in North 24 Pargana”.
According to CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty, “Roy is revealing all the secrets of AITC after leaving the party. He is one of the accused in the Saradha and the Narada scams but Central agencies will stop probing him as he has joined BJP”.
West Bengal govt’s clarification
A day after Roy made these allegations, the West Bengal government has issued a clarification that 'Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation’ and "Biswa Bangla "are different entities. The former is fully owned by the state government.
Additional chief secretary Rajiva Sinha said "Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation is fully owned by state government and it was formed on 31 December 2014 . Three government employees are shareholders of the company”. These are Sinha, Mohua Banerjee, special secretary of micro and small scale industries, and SC Panda, additional director of the micro and small scale industries.
"All consumer goods of West Bengal government are sold under the name of Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation and the logo of Biswa Bangla has been created by chief minister Mamata Banerjee," Sinha said.
In reply to the West Bengal government’s reaction, Roy said “I am aware Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation and Biswa Bangla are different entities. I was referring to Biswa Bangla. I will move court on this matter.”
Meanwhile, Abhishek Banerjee is said to have filed a case against Roy.