Kolkata: Two CPI-M leaders named in a counter PIL on disproportionate assets of 17 leaders on Tuesday told the Calcutta High Court that they welcomed any probe by an independent agency in the matter.
The 17 leaders belong to the three main opposition parties in West Bengal — BJP, CPI-M and the Congress.
On August 18, a PIL was filed at the Calcutta High Court on disproportionate assets of seven opposition leaders in the state, which included the names of CPI-M’s politburo member and state secretary in West Bengal, Md Salim and the former party legislator, Tanmay Bhattacharya.
On Tuesday, both Salim and Bhattacharya personally appeared in front of a division bench of the Calcutta High Court and told the bench they have no objections if any independent agency probes whether they really have incurred assets disproportionate to their income.
The PIL on August 18 was filed by a Trinamool Congress-confidante lawyer of the Calcutta High Court. It was considered as a counter to an earlier PIL, where a division bench of the High Court directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to be a party in the PIL regarding the assets and property details of 19 heavyweight Trinamool Congress leaders, including seven current ministers in the state.
Political observers feel that the submission of the two CPI-M leaders on Tuesday at the High Court poses a major political challenge for three heavyweight ministers of West Bengal, namely state urban development & municipal affairs minister and Kolkata Mayor, Firhad Hakim, state forest minister Jyotipriyo Mullik and the state cooperations department minister Arup Ray, who approached the Calcutta High Court with a plea to review the decision of including the ED as a party in the PIL.
However, a full-fledged hearing in the matter could not be completed on Tuesday, as the BJP and Congress leaders named in the PIL have sought some time for appearing in the case and present their respective arguments through their counsels.