Siliguri, April 26: ABGL chief Madan Tamang today demanded the immediate suspension of Darjeeling district magistrate Surendra Gupta and a CBI inquiry into properties owned by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders.
A Siliguri-based anti-Gorkhaland forum, the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Banchao Committee, announced a statewide bandh on May 14 over the alleged misappropriation of DGHC funds.
“The district magistrate is also the secretary of the DGHC and the drawing and disbursing authority. When B.L Meena, the administrator himself, is alleging misappropriation of 60-70 per cent of funds, how can the DM issue cheques and make payments?” Tamang told a media conference at the Siliguri Journalists’ Club here. “We demand his immediate suspension. The administrator, who has failed to run the DGHC in a proper manner, should be removed also.”
The ABGL leader trained his guns on the state government as well as the Trinamul Congress. “The charges of misappropriation of crores of public money have exposed the tacit understanding between the state and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha… The silence of the Trinamul leadership is conspicuous as well. We apprehend that if Trinamul comes to power, it will adopt the same (hands-off) policy like the CPM-led government as far as the hills are concerned.”
Tamang also demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged defalcation of DGHC funds. “Many Morcha leaders, who were middle-class people, now own luxury cars and properties in different parts of India. We want a thorough CBI probe to find out their sources of income and how they managed to amass so much wealth,” he said.
Tamang’s demands come three days after DGHC administrator Meena said a nexus between the Morcha leadership and the contractors was hampering development work in the hills. He said only 30-35 per cent of the funds disbursed for projects was being utilised for their execution “while everybody is aware what is happening to the remaining portion”.
Although the Bhasha Banchao Committee has not demanded any probe into Meena’s charges, it has called a bandh to protest the suspected embezzlement.
The bandh has been called on May 14, around the same time when the next round of talks between the Centre, the state and the Morcha will be held.
“We are not in favour of any autonomy and protest the manner in which the Morcha leaders are making money out of the DGHC funds. There is no other alternative left for us other than to call a strike as the state and the Centre are sitting idle and have taken the path to mollify the Morcha,” Bhasha Committee president Mukunda Majumdar said.
Saman Pathak, the CPM member in the Rajya Sabha from Darjeeling, also demanded an immediate inquiry by the state government. “The charges of the DGHC administrator indicate gross embezzlement of government funds by Morcha leaders,” Pathak said. “We want the state government to conduct an immediate inquiry.”