Trinamool distributed black money: CPI(M)

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Kolkata, April 17: The CPI(M) on Saturday, April 16 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.


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