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West Bengal: Arrested Minister Jyoti Priya Mallick, close aide of Sandeshkhali accused, removed from post in multi-crore ration distribution scam

As media persons jostled and gathered around the minister while he was being whisked away by the ED sleuths, with the help of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel, the minister said he was the "victim of a grave conspiracy".

West Bengal Minister Jyoti Priya Mallick was removed from his post on Friday (16th February) by Governor CV Ananda Bose with immediate effect reportedly on the advice of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A statement from Raj Bhavan was released on the same. Mallick’s portfolios in the Department of Forests and the Department of Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction have been reassigned to Birbaha Hansda and Partha Bhowmick.

“In terms of Article 166(3) of the Constitution, Hon’ble Governor Dr CV Ananda Bose has relieved Shri Jyoti Priya Mallick, Minister in Charge, Department of Forests and Department of Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction of his duties as Minister with immediate effect and has been pleased to reallocate the Departments to Partha Bhowmick and Birbaha Hansda on the advice of the Hon’ble Chief Minister,” a release from the Raj Bhavan read.

While Minister-in-Charge Partha Bhowmick has been allotted the Department of Irrigation and Waterways and the Department of Public Enterprises and Industrial Reconstruction, Minister of State Birbaha Hansda has been allocated the Department of Forests (Independent Charge) and the Department of Self-Help Group and Self Employment (Independent Charge), the Raj Bhawan stated.

The departmental reshuffle comes months after the Trinamool Congress formed a core committee for North 24 Parganas district after Bengal Minister Jyotipriya Mallick who was leading the district, landed up in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody.

Mallick was arrested in a multi-crore ration distribution scam three months ago following an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the ration scam.

The central agency made the arrest late at night after conducting searches at Mallick’s residence in Salt Lake, on the outskirts of Kolkata.

As media persons jostled and gathered around the minister while he was being whisked away by the ED sleuths, with the help of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel, the minister said he was the “victim of a grave conspiracy”.

Mallick was the food supplies minister from 2011 to 2021 and was later appointed as the Minister of Forest Affairs and Non-Conventional and Renewable Energy.

According to the ED investigation, Mallick’s wife and daughter held directorial positions in 3 companies allegedly involved in ‘routing’ funds in the scam.

Mallick received substantial loans from three companies, which he failed to repay. Several other individuals were arrested for their involvement in the scam.

Notably, TMC leader SK Shahjahan, who is an accused and absconding in the Sandeshkhali land grabbing and sexual assault case, is a close aide of Mallick.

(With agency inputs)

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