March 15, 2021 9:40:58 pm
BJP candidate from Nandigram Suvendu Adhikari on Monday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission demanding rejection of the nomination of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the same seat for not declaring six criminal cases against her while filing her affidavit.
The former state-minister-turned BJP leader, in his letter to the EC, claimed that Banerjee witheld information about five cases filed against her in Assam and another lodged by the CBI in West Bengal. He mentioned the case numbers in his complaint but did not elaborate on the offences allegedly committed by Banerjee.
“TMC candidate from Nandigram assembly constituency, the honourable Chief Minister, in her affidavit, did not mention six cases which are pending against her. One is a CBI case and five others are in lodged in Assam. I have appealed to the EC to reject her nomination for withholding facts. I hope they will take necessary action as per the law,” Adhikari told reporters.
However, sources in the CBI said the case mentioned by Adhikari in his letter to EC refers to another Mamata Banerjee from Asansol and not the Chief Minister.
Additional CEO of West Bengal, Sanjay Basu said, “When an affidavit is submitted with the nomination papers, there is a provision to file counter affidavits. We will upload both on our website. Now, we are waiting for a report from our Returning Officer.”
In March 2018, the Supreme Court had said that the returning officer can reject nomination papers of a candidate for non-disclosure and suppression of information, including those related to their assets and criminal background. The Apex court had ruled that voters have a fundamental right to know about their candidates and leaving columns blank in the nomination paper amounts to violation of their right.
Later in the day, a BJP delegation, led by Sisir Bajoria, also lodged a complaint with the EC in this regard.
Reacting to the development, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “Let the EC first send a letter to Mamata Banerjee, then she will definitely respond to it. Besides, there can be several cases against a person holding important posts. Unless they are involved in those cases officially or get official intimation, they are not bound to disclose them in the affidavit.” He added, “The BJP has become so desperate that they are accusing Mamata Banerjee without verifying facts. The CBI case is actually against someone else with the same name. They are trying to malign Mamata Banerjee’s image as they know that their candidate from Nandigram will not be able to win.”
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