Trinamool distributed black money: CPI(M), Mamata denies charge

The CPI (M) on Saturday alleged Trinamool Congress has distributed black money to its candidates to fund their expenses for West Bengal Assembly elections and said it would take up the matter with the Election Commission.

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2011, 20:40 PM IST

Kolkata: The CPI (M) on Saturday alleged Trinamool
Congress has distributed black money to its candidates to fund
their expenses for West Bengal Assembly elections and said it
would take up the matter with the Election Commission.

Trinamool Congress brushed aside the allegation and said
the Marxists had been levelling "wild charges fearing poll
debacle".

At a `Meet-the-Press` programme here, CPI(M) Central
Committee Member and West Bengal Housing Minister Goutam Deb
said that on March 25 the Trinamool Congress distributed Rs 15
lakh each to 226 party candidates.

"The candidates were to be given coupons of Rs 100, Rs
200 and Rs 500 denomination to raise public donation for their
election expenses but the receipt part of each coupon was
detached from the counterpart and later burnt", Deb said.

"If the Election Commission is impartial, it should look
into this. We will also go to the Commission in one or two
days", Deb said adding, however "it is through you (media)
that we are informing the Election Commission".

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should also look
into the matter as Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee
and party general secretary Mukul Roy were in his government.

Reacting to the charge by Deb, Mamata Banerjee said
"CPI(M) is fearing severe drubbing in the elections and has
been levelling rubbish claims and spreading canards against
us".

Addressing an election rally at Chapra in Nadia district,
Banerjee scoffed at Deb for making such allegations and said
"failing to solve the burning problems of the state, his party
has been speaking nonsense and spreading canards against
Trinamool Congress. Why should we be accountable to you for
our expenses"? she said.

When contacted, Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kumar Gupta
said "we do not monitor the sources of funds of the
candidates. Our expenditure monitoring starts with the opening
of bank account accounts of the candidates."

Gupta said that as per EC`s guidelines, the expenditure
ceiling for each candidate contesting the polls were Rs 16
lakh.

He, however, said the investigation department of the IT
was keeping a close watch on movement of cash within the
state.

Deb is pitted against playwright Bratya Basu of TC in the
polls. Reacting to Deb`s charge that nearly Rs 34 crore had been
distributed by Trinamool Congress among its 226 candidates,
TC`s leader of the opposition Partha Chatterjee said the "EC
code of conduct has clearly stated that no wild allegation can
be levelled. Complaints or allegations have to be
substantiated".

Chatterjee rejected Deb`s claims about blackmoney
distribution for election expenses by Trinamool Congress and
described it as a "statement of a mentally deranged person``.

"Since the announcement of election dates, the Election
Commission bears the entire responsibility of monitoring any
political party`s expense accounts", he said.

Chatterjee said it was unbecoming of CPI(M) to level
corruption charges against others. "The party is neck-deep in
corruption and crores and crores of rupees have been looted by
the party in the last 34 years", he alleged.

PTI