Shahjahan’s Aide & Minister Jyotipriya Mallick Sacked; Sources Say ‘Had Role in Siphoning Ration Scam Money’

The ED arrested Mallick in October last year in connection with the ration scam case. (File Image: PTI)

The TMC leader was arrested by the ED in October last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the ration scam

The Trinamool Congress led-West Bengal government on Friday removed their arrested forest minister, Jyotipriya Mallick, from his post citing the party’s zero tolerance for corruption. Mallick is behind bars for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore ration distribution.

The forest ministry portfolio was allocated to Birbaha Hansda, who is the minister of State for Forests and Self Help – Self Employment Group (Independent Charge).

Mallick’s other portfolio of Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction under Mallik was assigned to Partha Bhowmick, a senior official said. Bhowmick is the Minister-in-charge of the Irrigation and Waterways department.

The senior official noted that the decision was taken in accordance with the advice of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Following Mallick’s removal, the TMC’s sources said that their party and government, both “believe in transparency”. “We have said this time and again that there is zero tolerance for corruption” no matter who the person is.

The party sources pointed at the action they have taken against their “heavyweight ministers” such as Partha Chatterjee and Jyotipriya Mallick.

Taking a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party, they said that the saffron party “should answer” as to when they will “remove the CBI-FIR named Suvendhu Adhkari or corrupt leaders like Narayan Rane, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is their CM.”

The sources also noted that TMC national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee has led the cause on “zero tolerance” from the forefront.

Governor CV Ananda Bose exercised his powers under Article 166(3) of the Constitution and relieved Mallick of his ministerial duties with immediate effect, a Raj Bhavan source said.

The removal of Jyotipriya Mallick comes amid the Enforcement Directorate’s hunt for Shahjahan Sheikh in connection with the ration scam case. It is said that Mallick is a close aide of Sheikh.

Sources in the federal agency have said that the ration scam money may have been siphoned via Mallick.

The absconding TMC leader Sheikh is yet to appear before the ED in connection with the third summon issued to him in the multi-crore ration scam.

Sources in the federal agency said that if the TMC leader, against whom they have also issued one lookout notice, does not respond to the summons at all, then they might seek legal avenues.

In October last year, the ED had arrest Mallick under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the scam.

(With PTI inputs)

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