West Bengal: Governor seeks expense details of business meet from govt

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: August 3, 2020 2:41:23 am

Jagdeep dhankar, mamata banerjee, Bengal Global Business Summit, Bengal Global Business Summit expense details, indian express news Jagdeep Dhankar. (File)

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has asked the state government to provide details of the money spent on the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS), which is an annual event that the Mamata Banerjee administration has been organising since 2015 to attract investors.

Expressing concern about alleged fiscal irregularities, Dhankhar, in a series of tweets on Saturday, said a claim had been made that the investment generated on the ground was less than the amount spent organising the event every year. The Governor asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) to furnish the details of the summit.

“Sought details from ACS Finance Re: Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) @MamataOfficial in view of issues of concern raised. Assertion is that even the amount spent in BGBS is more than the investment generated on ground. Issues of fiscal irregularities and patronage also raised,” Dhankhar tweeted, tagging the Chief Minister’s account.

The Governor said he wanted to know the amount spent on the event since 2016, and the agency or agencies through which it was spent. He also sought to know “the name of the event company for BGBS and whether payment was made directly or through FICCI, besides the number of MoUs signed, investment and jobs promised in each of the annual events”.

On Sunday, the Governor clarified that he had the right to seek information from the state government. “Right and duty of the Governor to seek information @MamataOfficial — be political violence, Bengal Global Business Summit, PDS, Amphan relief corruption etc. Information is not made available. Ruling party stand ‘Governor politically motivated. Is this rule of law or democracy,” he wrote.

Dhankhar added, “Why is information not provided? What is there to hide? Government must clarify. For sake of accountability and transparency, responsibility be fixed on those @MamataOfficial who defaulted in giving information. Opacity would breed scams and add skeletons to cupboards.”

The Opposition, including the BJP and the CPI(M), have demanded the publication of a white paper on the investments generated at the business summit.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has told the state Assembly that 50 per cent of the investment proposals received during the five editions of the summit were being implemented.

This year the event is scheduled to be held from December 15 to 17. The dates were announced before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reacting to the Governor’s statements, TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee tweeted, “@jdhankhar1 first you learn the constitutional provisions regarding role of governor and his limitations of interference of government’s work,then you ask questions. Suggesting you do not become @BJP4Bengal’s cadre. Abhi to gentleman ban jao is umar me [Become a gentleman at this age].”

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