Mamata alleges Bengal Governor was charge-sheeted in Jain hawala diaries case; Jagdeep Dhankar refutes it as “untruth” and “misinformation”

Published : June 28, 2021 22:41 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee meeting the media in Kolkata on June 28. Photo: PTI

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar addressing a media conference at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata, on June 28. Photo: PTI

Relations between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar hit a new low with the Chief Minister calling the Governor a “corrupted man” and alleging that he was charge-sheeted in the Jain hawala diaries case. Dhankhar refuted Mamata Banerjee’s allegation saying he was never charge-sheeted and said the allegation was “far from the facts,”, “plain and simple untruth” and “misinformation.”

Addressing a press conference on June 28, Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Governor, saying, “He is a corrupted man. He is a corrupted man, I am sorry to say – all corruption-oriented man. Why should a Central government allow a Governor like this? …He was charge-sheeted in the hawala Jain case, and later it was cleared by the court. But a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) is still pending.” Alleging that the Governor is trying to “dictate” terms in the State, she said, “Who does he think he is? An elected government secured a mandate just two months ago. Why should he dictate even after we have come with such a big mandate? From high authorities to low authorities, he tries to dictate everybody. Who is he? He is merely the Governor, nothing else.” She also accused Jagdeep Dhankhar of fanning flames of discontent during his recent trip to north Bengal. She claimed that she had written to the Centre three times seeking Jagdeep Dhankhar’s removal as Governor.

Governor’s reaction

Soon after Mamata Banerjee made her allegations, Jagdeep Dhankhar addressed a press conference and refuted the allegations. “She has made some allegations of a very serious nature in the public domain…. I never expected a leader of her standing and stature to create sensation, engage in misinformation and misrepresentation…. Let me tell you your Governor has not been charge-sheeted,” he said.

According to Jagdeep Dhankhar, the real reason behind Mamata Banerjee’s outburst was that he had expressed reservations about reading all that was written in the speech he is supposed to make in the Assembly on July 2. “I will tell you how it all started. As soon as I returned from north Bengal today (June 28), I was given the draft of the address I am supposed to make on July 2 in the Vidhan Sabha. After studying the address, I felt that there were certain things that were mentioned there which would not be possible for the common people to accept, and I wrote to the Chief Minister: ‘I have had the benefit of going through the draft address. As regards certain issues, wherein I would appreciate deliberation with you at the earliest possible time of your convenience tomorrow,’” said Jagdeep Dhankhar.

He claimed that within minutes of sending his letter, and “10 minutes” before the Chief Minister’s press conference, Mamata Banerjee called him to inform him that the speech was approved by the Cabinet and said she would get back to him on the matter. Maintaining that he had “very high respect” for Mamata Banerjee, the Governor said, “A seasoned politician cannot take recourse to misinformation.”

Referring to his north Bengal trip, he attacked the government for not allowing elections to the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) since 2017. He alleged that the semi-autonomous body governing the Darjeeling hills of north Bengal was “reduced to a government department – a den of corruption, a den of inefficiency, a den of nepotism”, and that “democracy has been stifled in the entire region under the GTA”.

Jagdeep Dhankhar also took a swipe at the government over the continuing post-poll political violence in Bengal. “This is nothing but authoritarianism. It is not governance in accordance with the Constitution. This is not rule of law,” he said. Relations between the Governor and the government had always been a rocky one and began to deteriorate further after the Assembly election, with the Governor accusing the State government of remaining a silent spectator to the ongoing post-poll violence.

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