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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Mamata Banerjee’s nephew sends Mukul Roy legal notice on Biswa Bangla allegation

Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee has locked horns with the party’s former number two and now a BJP member Mukul Roy over allegations about the ownership of a marketing firm.

kolkata Updated: Nov 13, 2017 20:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Trinamool Congress President Mamata Banerjee .
Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Trinamool Congress President Mamata Banerjee .(Facebook)

Three days after BJP leader Mukul Roy alleged that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee owns the Biswa Bangla brand, the MP sent a legal notice to Roy on Monday demanding unconditional apology at a press conference.

The notice claimed that Roy who was once the number two in Trinamool Congress made defamatory accusations which he should withdraw and apologise within 48 hours or face legal action. Banerjee also threatened to file civil and criminal defamation suits if apology was not forthcoming.

The notice says that Abhishek Banerjee is not an owner of Biswa Bangla or Jago Bangla. “... the papers that you have brandished to purportedly support your libelous and false statements must be forged.... Our client does not own nor is a shareholder of any company that has either Biswa Bangla or Jago Bangla in its name as claimed by you,” said the notice.

Roy’s legal team seemed unperturbed by the notice.

“We will send a reply to the notice within 48 hours. Since the government has promoted the brand, someone must have gained financially,” said Mukul Roy’s advocate Som Mondal.

Mamata Banerjee was in London when the drama unfolded in Kolkata. She left the city on Friday night soon after Roy made the allegation about her nephew and the Trinamool youth leader at the first BJP rally he addressed after joining the party.

Read more: Mukul Roy targets Mamata Banerjee, nephew; she responds at Kolkata film festival

While the war of words over the brand which is a marketing arm of the state government continued, Roy’s son and Trinamool MLA Subhrangshu, did not turn up at a public meeting in central Kolkata arranged by the party’s youth wing Trinamool Yuva on Monday. Though Subhrangshu Roy disagreed with his father’s joining the BJP and swore by Mamata Banerjee, he stayed away from the meeting.

From the dais several Trinamool leaders criticised Mukul Roy as a man who betrayed his party.

The controversy over Biswa Bangla brand owned by Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation has generated a lot of heat in the state since November 10 when Roy alleged that the brand aggressively promoted by the Mamata Banerjee administration is actually owned by Abhishek Banerjee.

Roy also claimed that all campaign material of Trinamool Congress was printed by a company Jago Bangla that is owned by Abhishek Banerjee. TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee had trashed those charges on Friday.

Last week, the government also came out in Abhishek’s defence with two secretaries of the state government making public statements that the brand was owned by the government.

“The brand was given to the government by the chief minister. The allegations are completely baseless,” home secretary Atri Bhattacharya said soon after Roy’s statement.

The next day, Rajiva Sinha, additional chief secretary, department of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises said, “The Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation is no private entity. It is a 100% government owned company. The paid up capital is financed 100% by the Department of MSME and Textiles. If anyone claims that the Biswa Bangla Marketing Corporation is a private company, it is totally false.”

Mukul Roy wrote back to both Sinha and Bhattacharya alleging they broke All India Service (Conduct Rules) 1968 and stuck to his guns.

“On 31.3.16, the Trademarks Authority issued a notice to MSME that their application was deemed to be abandoned. This has been suppressed by you in your press briefing along with MSME secretary. In the Trademarks Journal published by The Trademarks Authority, Govt of India on 8.5.2017, the Biswa Bangla mark is shown as wholly owned by Abhishek Banerjee,” read the letter Mukul Roy sent to Bhattacharya and Sinha.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 20:05 IST

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