Kolkata, Aug 10 (IANS): A group of Trinamool Congress leaders and ministers in West Bengal on Wednesday made an attempt to send across a message to the people that the involvement of former state education minister Partha Chatterjee in the teacher recruitment scam does not make all in the party 'thieves'.
On August 8, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court had directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to be a party in a public interest litigation regarding the assets and property details of 19 heavyweight leaders, including seven current ministers, in West Bengal.
Referring to that, few Trinamool leaders and ministers named in the PIL called a press conference on Wednesday wherein they issued an appeal not to consider everyone in Trinamool Congress as offenders because of the wrongdoings of Partha Chatterjee.
"We are all ashamed for what Partha Chatterjee has done. But it is not fair that just because of his wrongdoings, all Trinamool Congress leaders should be considered as thieves. I want to question the CPI(M) leadership whether any of their leaders or followers can accuse me of misbehaving with them," said state minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, whose name figures prominently in the PIL.
Education Minister Bratya Basu, who has also been named in the PIL, said that names of Trinamool leaders were selectively included in the PIL, where as the names of several Congress and CPI(M) leaders, including some former ministers in the Left Front regime, are currently under judicial scanner for sudden rise in the quantum of their properties and assets.
He specifically named CPI(M) politburo member Suryakanta Mishra and state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on this count.
"I do not want to comment on the merits of the Calcutta High Court order directing ED to be a party in the PIL. All I can say is that certain recent developments have given the opportunities to the opposition parties and legal activists to selectively highlight the names of Trinamool leaders relating to corruption," Basu said.
Meanwhile, state BJP spokesman Samik Bhattacharya said that the press conference called by the Trinamool leaders was just a face-saving exercise since the people in general have started publicly referring to the ruling party leaders as thieves.