Kolkata: In what may leave the Trinamul Congress in deep trouble, the Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) be made a party in a petition seeking a probe into the astronomical growth of assets of 19 leaders of the ruling party including seven ministers and the Speaker.
A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj passed the order after a lawyer, Shamim Ahmed, sought an ED probe into a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Biplab Choudhury who alleged that the assets of the 19 TMC leaders in 2017, according to their affidavits to the Election Commission, had skyrocketed since 2011.
The seven ministers are Firhad Hakim who is also Kolkata mayor, Bratya Basu, Jyotipriyo Mullick, Maloy Ghatak, Arup Roy, Javed Ahmed Khan and Seuli Saha.
Others include three-time Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee, Barrackpore Lok Sabha member Arjun Singh, who recently returned to the Trinamul from the BJP, MLA Swarnakamal Saha and Siliguri Mayor Gautam Deb.
Welcoming the HC order, state BJP spokesperson Shameek Bhattacharya pointed out that the TMC cannot call it a conspiracy of the Centre since the directive came from the judiciary.
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said, "When a political party becomes target of everything, all those who are orchestrating it should think whether it must be done wholly or particularly. A PIL cannot be sustained against an individual or a political party. It can be based on a larger section where people are being cheated. "