West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday called Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar a “corrupted man” and claimed that his name was in the 1996 Hawala Jain case chargesheet, reported India Today. The governor has denied the allegations.
The case, also known as the Jain Diaries case, involves payments allegedly made by politicians through four hawala brokers, known as the Jain brothers. It was an $18 million (approximately Rs 133 crore) scandal that allegedly involved some of the country’s leading politicians at that time, including BJP leaders LK Advani, Madan Lal Khurana and Arif Mohammed Khan and Congress’ Madhavrao Scindia.
At a press conference on Monday, the chief minister said that she has written three letters seeking Dhankhar’s removal as state governor. “Why has the central government allowed a governor like this to continue?” she asked, according to NDTV.
Banerjee also accused the governor of engaging in a political stunt by visiting north Bengal, where he just met the MLAs and MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party. “Why did he suddenly tour North Bengal,” she asked. “I can sense a conspiracy to divide North Bengal.”
She was apparently referring to the demands of some BJP leaders seeking the creation of a separate Union Territory for North Bengal.
The TMC government and Dhankhar have been at loggerheads since 2019.
In June, they had traded barbs over the post-poll violence in the state. Last week, West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee had complained about Dhankhar’s “excessive interference” in the Parliamentary process to his Lok Sabha counterpart Om Birla.
Apart from the state government, Left parties have also criticised Dhankar for acting like a BJP mouthpiece. “He is not a man of the BJP but his function is tantamount to be a man of BJP,” Biman Bose, the Left Front chairperson, had said. “This cannot be the role of a governor.”
Did not expect this from a senior politician: Dhankhar
At a press conference, the governor said that he has not been chargesheeted in the case, reported ANI. He accused Mamata Banerjee of spreading misinformation and said that he did not expect this from a senior politician.
“I will not be cowed down under any circumstances,” he said. “I shall not be caved in what come may. I will do all I can in my command to serve the people of West Bengal.”
Dhankhar also suggested that he would not take any legal action against the chief minister. “Mamata Ji is a mature leader,” he told reporters. “Why did she do this?”
In a tweet after the press conference, Dhankhar added that he did not expect a leader of such stature to “engage in sensation premised on misrepresentation and untruth”.
“Still wondering what prompted her to engage in such act!” Dhankhar tweeted. “Am sure she will for sure reflect and generate scenario for working in togetherness for welfare of people.”