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Mallick’s assets rose from Rs 80L to Rs 6.2 cr in 10 yrs, poll affidavits show

AS THE Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigates State Forest Minister Jyoti Priya Mallick’s alleged role in connection with corruption in ration distribution, affidavits submitted by the TMC leader to the Election Commission show that his assets rose from Rs 80.2 lakh in 2011 to Rs 1.51 crore in 2016 and to Rs 6.2 crore in 2021.

Mallick, former food and supplies minister of West Bengal, was arrested in the early hours on Friday after raids at his residence and seven other locations. It has been alleged that there were several irregularities in the public distribution system (PDS) and large-scale corruption in the distribution of foodgrains in the state during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

He was later produced before a local court and remanded in ED’s custody for 10 days.The Indian Express looked at the poll affidavits submitted by Mallick in 2011, 2016 and 2021, which show that his assets reportedly rose from around Rs 80.2 lakhs in 2011 to Rs 6 crore in 2021, which included deposits worth over Rs 4 crore held in banks and financial institutions.

Mallick’s affidavit for the 2011 Assembly polls showed that he owned assets worth Rs 80,26,444. His total assets included Rs 84,000 (Cash in hand). He held deposits worth Rs 13,60,013 in banks and other financial institutions. Other than that, he had a National Savings Certificate valued at around Rs 9,00,000.

In the declaration, Mallick also submitted that he and his spouse owned jewellery worth Rs 1,45,135.

Festive offer

Mallick declared that he owned agricultural land in Paschim Bardhaman worth Rs 6,92,000 and non-agricultural land in Paschim Bardhaman and Purba Medinipur districts worth Rs 5,40,000. Apart from these properties, he also mentioned that he owned an apartment in Salt Lake area of Kolkata worth Rs 40,00,000.

In the affidavit submitted for the 2016 Assembly elections, Mallick said he owned assets worth Rs 1.51 crore, which included Rs 93,000 cash and deposits worth Rs 76,39,273 in banks and financial institutions,

Other than that, he had a post office savings account valued at Rs 11,88,561 and insurance policies worth Rs 12,50,000. In the declaration, Mallick stated that in 2016, he and his spouse bought new cars collectively valued at Rs 19,78,587. His total assets also included jewellery worth Rs 5,44,310.Mallick also declared agricultural land in Paschim Bardhaman worth Rs 6,92,000 and non-agricultural land in Paschim Bardhaman and Purba Medinipur (under his wife’s name) worth Rs 10,20,000. He also mentioned an apartment in the New Town area of Kolkata worth Rs 9,00,000.

In the affidavit submitted to the EC by Mallick for 2021 Assembly elections in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress leader claimed that his total assets stood at Rs 6.2 crore. The assets included Rs 39,000 in cash, while deposits in bank and financial institutions at Rs 4,84,17,420. He also submitted that he owned bonds, debentures and shares in a company worth Rs 13,85,000.

According to the affidavit, his postal savings stood at Rs Rs 12,94,268 and insurance policies worth Rs Rs 88,94,154. The worth of the two cars used by Mallick and his wife stood at Rs 18,71,550. The jewellery owned by the minister and his wife was valued at Rs 1,40,000 and Rs 4,24,310, respectively. He also stated that he owned land in Purba Medinipur district worth Rs 4,05,000.

In the documents submitted in the court on Friday, the ED said: “It is worth mentioning as per election affidavit of Jyoti Priya Mallick for 2016 WB Assembly Elections filed on 04.04.2016, he declared the cash in hand for spouse was Rs 45,000. However, on the other hand, within a span of one year total cash of Rs 6 crore (approx) was deposited in her bank account.” The agency’s document said: “It is also revealed that cash amounting to Rs 6.03 crore was deposited in bank account of Mrs Monidipa Mallick (the minister’s wife) from November 2016 to March 2017 and amounting to Rs 3.79 crore was deposited at bank account of Ms Priyadarshini Mallick (his daughter) during November 2016.”

The ruling TMC has criticised the BJP-led Centre for practising “vendetta”. In a post on X, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “Releasing ED & CBI on Opposition leaders, @BJP4India has proved its witch-hunting practices are purely out of vendetta, otherwise we all know that you too would be sitting in jail and not posting such poorly crafted memes.”

The BJP, on the other hand, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should step down. “This is nothing new…The Chief Minister knew all this but did not take any action. A government’s prime responsibility is to provide education, health and food to the people. They failed in three sections. Two of their ministers were arrested. Now, the CM should step down taking all responsibility,” said BJP leader Shamik Bhattacharya.

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CPI (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty also hit out at the CM and said, “Without the CM’s knowledge, nothing could have happened. So, the central agency should interrogate the Chief Minister.”

ED questions minister’s aides

The ED Saturday questioned state minister Jyoti Priya Mallick’s personal assistant at its CGO complex office in Kolkata, a day after the TMC leader was arrested in connection with alleged irregularities in ration distribution in the state. The minister’s personal assistant Amit Dey was interrogated on Friday as well. Along with Dey, Mallick’s former personal assistant Abhijit Das was also questioned by the ED on Saturday.

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On Thursday, the ED had raided Mallick’s house and seven other premises which included three flats owned by Dey in Nagerbazar. Officials said the ED teams could not enter the flats as Dey was in Puri on a holiday with his family. The teams were able to enter the premises after Dey returned the next day. The same day, the agency searched a house owned by Das in Howrah district. According to sources, a maroon diary was allegedly recovered from the house. The ED has alleged that the diary has details of various money transactions conducted on different dates. The diary haD “Baldu” written on its cover, as well as some of the pages inside it, they added.

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