People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXV

No. 18

May 01, 2011

 

Black Money Flows in Elections

 

Tikender Singh Panwar

 

AT a time West Bengal is passing through one of the toughest political battles in its history, all sorts of forces --- ranging from the so-called Left through the centre to the extreme right --- have aligned to defeat the Left. In this battle, the corporate world has also made its entry with black money has now become a prominent issue. In this regard, the people of this state deserve to be heartily congratulated as they have responded positively to this issue which the votaries of neo-liberalism and their hankers-on have always sought to brush under the carpet. Today the effort is, as pointed out by P Sainath in an article in The Hindu, that bribery should be legitimised, and the neo-liberalists seek to underplay this issue that is connected to the peopleís life and livelihood.

 

It has appeared in a section of the print and electronic media in West Bengal that there is a rampant flow of black money in the state, with the corporate houses backing the TMC. The revelation made during the burning of fraud receipts has thoroughly exposed the TMC as beneficiary of this massive inflow of black money. In the two phases of elections so far, as the reports go, the TMC had been doling out allurements of umbrellas, CD players, colour television sets and also cash, not to talk of the massive distribution of free liquor in selected colonies along with hard cash. It is not surprising that the US imperialism has set its eyes on the election and is seeking to ensure that the Left is removed from one of the foremost outposts of the struggle against the LPG policies, so that the imperialist agenda of neo-liberalism is carried on unhindered in India.

 

After all, where all this money comes from?

 

Gautam Deb, a minister in the West Bengal, has made a scathing attack on the TMC and pointed out some of the sources from where this money is pouring in.

 

In this regard, one episode was not sufficiently underlined. It is about the person who was caught with Rs 57 lakh in cash while travelling from Assam to Delhi in a chartered aircraft. Somehow he was let off by the concerned authorities though a complaint had been lodged with the Election Commission. This man happens to be the owner of Alchemist and his name is Kanwar Deep Singh or K D Singh. But what is his relation with the West Bengal elections? Apart from having business interests in the region, he is the one who hails from Punjab but became an independent member of Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand. How? It does not require any in-depth description; one can easily decipher the reality. Now the same K D Singh is a member of the TMC. This man, who is now one of the largest sources of black money in the West Bengal elections, has a dubious history and methodology of amassing money while bypassing the law of the land and cheating the people. This reporter can cite a case to the point that connects this man to the formerís home state of Himachal Pradesh.

 

The state of Himachal Pradesh has a peculiar position in regard to land reforms and tenancy act. Accordingly, what to talk about the non-Himachalis, even a non-agriculturist cannot purchase land in the state. But, eager to expand his business interests, this K D Singh entered an agreement with the management of a prestigious school named Himalayan International School (HIS) at Charabra, just 7 kilometres from Shimla, to buy the school and the 30 bighas of landed  property attached with it for a sum of Rs 12 crore. However, as it is not permissible under the provisions of law, a dummy agriculturist in the garb of a buyer was created and a sale deed was registered for Rs 6 crore only; the rest of the amount was given in black. This money was paid from the account of the Alchemist of K D Singh. Immediately thereafter, the school management was changed, with a section of the Alchemist management taking the school over. The first task the new management performed was to shut the school down and ask the parents to withdraw their children, while the teachers and the non-teaching staff were asked to resign as the school was now to be redesigned into a hospitality department, i.e. a multi-star hotel.

 

However, the parents and other people of the state approached the High Court and it was their intervention that foiled the evil intentions of this TMC MP. The civil writ petition has demanded that the aforesaid property be taken away from K D Singh and vested with the state of Himachal Pradesh as the deal had taken place in contravention of the provisions of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act.

 

The move has thoroughly exposed the sinister designs of the TMC MP. The episode also indicates what the TMC, with such high-profile tagged people in its bandwagon, can offer to the people of West Bengal.

 

April 23, 2011