MP Ritabrata Banerjee asks for inquiry after CPI(M) gets his bank statement

On the verge of being expelled for disproportionate wealth, Ritabrata Banerjee is fighting a losing battle with his party.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2017 18:25 IST
Communist Party of India (Marxist),CPI(M),Ritabrata Banerjee
Ritabrata Banerjee (C) raised eyebrows in the party when he sported expensive personal gadgets such a Mont Blanc pen and an Apple smart watch.(HT File Photo)

A rebel CPI(M) legislator, on the verge of being expelled for disproportionate wealth and lavish lifestyle, has started a counter-offensive against the party after his bank statements were “illegally” downloaded to build a case against him.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal Ritabrata Banerjee has shot letters to party chief Sitaram Yechury and other leaders crying foul that his bank statement was procured by some comrades without his permission.

Banerjee is fighting a losing battle with his party, which ideologically encourages an austere lifestyle, but his fight against the CPI(M) once again highlights the rot within the largest communist outfit in India.

The 38-year-old MP, who once fought against Trinamool Congress in Mamata Banerjee’s bastion, raised eyebrows in the party for sporting expensive personal gadgets such a Mont Blanc pen and an Apple smart watch. He also once threatened a business group.

“But someone has to bell the cat. In one of the meetings of the disciplinary cell of the party, they showed me my bank statement for the last three months. I was shocked. How could they access my bank account without my permission?” Banerjee asked.

He has an account with the State Bank of India in its Parliament Branch.

“I have asked the finance ministry to launch a probe on how it was done,” Banerjee told the Hindustan Times.

The rebel MP enquired from the finance ministry if procuring his bank statement was illegal, which informed him that no one can access his account without his written permission.

“He is now acting as per the advice of (Union finance minister) Arun Jaitley. We don’t want to comment on the issue,” Politburo member Md Salim, who heads the disciplinary cell, told HT.

Banerjee has also recorded the in-camera proceedings of the disciplinary committee—which he threatens to make public, in another effort to harm the party’s image.

The CPI(M), a party with strict disciplinary standards, has a history of expelling many of its top-ranking leaders, including former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, former Tripura chief minister Nripen Chakraborty, and economist Prasenjit Bose, on different ground.

The latest assault comes at a time when the party is fast losing its footprint in the eastern state, where they ruled for 34 years. The party is also reduced to just seven members in the Rajya Sabha and has just nine members in the 545-seat strong Lok Sabha.

First Published: Sep 13, 2017 11:26 IST