July 23, 2013

WEST BENGAL Party Account is fully transparent

Biman Basu Dares Any Probe into Baseless Insinuation

KOLKATA: BIMAN Basu, secretary, West Bengal state committee of the CPI(M) has strongly refuted any wrongdoing in the affairs of collection and maintaining the Party fund and condemned the baseless and wild insinuation by a section of media and Trinamul Congress. A report in Ananda Bazar Patrika suggested that the CPI(M) state committee’s bank account is run by individual leaders. They also mentioned some figures in this account. They tried to collect ‘comments’ from Trinamul leaders and tried to construct a story that all is not well with the CPI(M)’s account.

Biman Basu, in a press conference, categorically refuted any misconduct and detailed the sources of income and how it was maintained.

He said, in our Party Constitution’s Article no 1o, it is clearly written that every Party member must pay a monthly levy as laid down by the Central Committee. Those whose incomes are of annual or of seasonal character have to pay their levy at the beginning of the season or at the beginning of every quarter on the same percentage basis. If a member fails to deposit his levy within three months after it is due, then his name is to be liable to be even removed from the Party rolls. Like any Communist Party, the main source of the CPI(M)’s income is the levy collected from the Party members. There are fixed rates of levies according to income level. For example, the lowest rate is 25 paisa per month upto an income of Rs 300. And the highest is 5 percent of his income per month if it is above Rs 8000.  The CPI(M) has 3,14, 457 Party members in West Bengal. The levies are distributed among different levels of committees. Those Party members who are directly attached to the units under the state committee give their levies to state centre. Their levy amount turns to be nearly 45 lakhs.

Basu said, apart from the normal levies, Party members who are elected as members of parliament, state assembly or any other elected post deposit their salary to Party. Even the large portions of pension of retired elected representatives are deposited in Party fund. This can only be possible in a Left party. No other parties can even imagine this practice. Apart from all these, Party calls for special funds from time to time, in which one-day or half-day wages are collected. This is the principal method of Party’s income. The whole process is crystal clear, transparent and meticulously maintained.

About the insinuation perpetrated by a section of media and the ruling party in West Bengal about the “Bank Account”, Biman Basu said, this account was opened by a resolution of Party’s state committee and was given to the bank on the letterhead of the state committee. It was first decided that the account would be run in the name of Sailen Dasgupta, the then Party state secretary and Biman Basu. After the death of Sailen Dasgupta in 2010, the name of Nirupam Sen was added. This decision was also communicated to the bank on the formal letterhead of the Party. All formalities have been maintained during the transactions. However, we did not know that the bank was treating it as ‘personal account.’ As soon as we were informed, we requested the bank to transfer it as a state committee account. There was no secrecy, nothing under the table. It was an open transaction with the said bank.

Basu said, the details of this account are audited. According to rules, we send annual audit report to Party Central Committee and through them, the Income Tax authorities and the Election Commission gets those reports. The Election Commission has praised us many times for maintaining accounts in a correct manner.

Basu said, there is nothing in our Party account and this bank account which is shrouded in secrecy. We are ready for investigation by any agencies, brought from any part of the world. There was absolutely no reason to raise this issue except trying to mislead a section of people during panchayat elections. Trinamul Congress and its chief minister had failed to run the administration in the state. They are just trying to divert attention from this.

To another question, Basu said, the amount of money is perfectly consistent with the levies and special funds that we had mentioned.

Interestingly, the Ananda Bazar Patrika has shied away to publish the details of Biman Basu’s arguments and downplayed the whole thing after two days. 

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