Guest post by SANKAR RAY
Sankar Ray is a veteran journalist based in Kolkata
[This article presents the sordid tale of land acquisitions for the New Rajarhat Township and the involvement of important CPI(M) personnel in this game. One of them, the key protagonist of the story below, was mentioned by Pranab Mukherjee in parliament yesterday, taunting the CPI(M) over its claims to be a crusader against corruption, arousing the ire of its MPs. – AN]
Calling it a ‘shocking experience”, after a visiting a segment of oustees in the Narmada Valley in mid- August 2002, Sarla Maheswari, then CPI(M) member of Rajya Sabha member told the media – as if her heart bled, and with revolutionary conscience ablaze: “How can a development project create a disaster in the lives of the most downtrodden tribal people and also thousands of farmers of a huge area? How can it ravage their lives without any protest by mainstream political parties? Truth indeed is stranger than fiction as the same fire-eating ‘communist MP’s demagoguery is now in a hot soup as I-T sleuths raided at her residence, as a sequel to detection of an unaccounted sum of Rs 31 crores and 26 benami companies, belonging to the Canopy Group whose chairman is her husband Arun Maheswari. And the CPI (M) brass at the Muzaffar Ahmed Bhavan, Bengal CPI(M)’s state headquarters keep up their recalcitrance, not even demanding a ‘show cause’ of the cash-rich ‘comrade’ . Former MP and CPI(M) CC member Mohd Selim, a spokesman of state party leadership too, ruled out any punitive step until specific indictment by the I-T department, leave alone criticizing the shady land transactions in the controversial New Town project at Rajarhat fully with the knowledge of ‘comrade Sarla Maheswari’ and her family.