This Article is From Jul 13, 2020

Poll Panel Seeks Clarification Over Bengal Minister Holding 2 Offices Of Profit

Government sources said the Election Commission issued the letter after additional chief secretary to the governor, wrote to the poll panel on June 22

Poll Panel Seeks Clarification Over Bengal Minister Holding 2 Offices Of Profit

Earlier Firhad Hakim held the post of Kolkata mayor. (File)

Kolkata:

The Election Commission has written to West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, seeking to know if state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, who is also the chairman of Kolkata Municipal Corporation Board, is holding two offices of profit.

In a letter to Mr Sinha earlier this month, Vijay Kumar Pandey, one of the directors of the poll panel, also wanted to know why Hakim should not be dismissed as an MLA.

"Yes, we have received a letter in this connection. We are looking into the matter. We will reply once the time is right time," a top government official said.

The urban development minister, when contacted, said he does not take any salary or perks as the chairman of the civic body's board of administrators.

Secretariat sources said the EC, in its letter, has posed nine questions, two of which related to Hakim's responsibilities and remuneration as the KMC Board's chairperson.

The letter demanded details of Hakim's appointment procedure, a copy of the appointment order and information about the facilities provided to him as well as the exemptions granted to his office under any order or Act.

It also asked about the date on which a notification for the creation of the post was issued, and if it was done in view of a state government directive.

Government sources said the EC issued the letter after Satish Tiwari, additional chief secretary to the governor, wrote to the poll panel on June 22.

In the letter to the EC, the additional chief secretary said Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had received letters accusing Hakim of holding two offices of profit and sought his dismissal as an MLA, citing Section 191(1)(A) of the Constitution.

Notably, the state government had in 2007 included 115 posts in the list of offices of profit. In 2011, the list was amended and the number of such posts was increased to 126.

The office of the chairman of the KMC's Board of Administrators, which was created earlier this year after the municipal elections were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however does not feature in the list.

Earlier, Hakim had held the post of Kolkata mayor.

Hakim, on his part, said the governor, in collusion with the BJP, was trying to create disturbances.

"I am not taking any salary or perks, allowances or car as the chairman of the Board of Administrators. The BJP and the governor jointly want to disturb us (the Trinamool Congress government). The court has asked me to continue my duty, and I will work accordingly," he added.