The BJP has to deal with a corruption scandal brewing in West Bengal inside its own party. Many party workers are claiming that they paid money to Dilip Ghosh to get LPG gas distribution agencies controlled by the central government. The party workers are complaining they they have duped by top district and state leaders who promised them distributorships of LPG (liquid petroleum gas) in exchange for bribes. We are told that many of the BJP workers and party activists have approached West Bengal BJP president with complaints.
Complaints have been mounting and after a lot of back and forth, Kolkatta police has made an arrest. According to the Deputy Commissioner of Police Subhankar Sinha, Ranjeet Majumdar, a resident of Kolkata, was arrested on a complaint from a former BJP worker named Ashok Sarkar.
BJP claims its a false case
In response to the arrest, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said Majumdar was falsely framed in the case and the party would support him. Another official said Majumdar was arrested on a complaint filed by former BJP leader Ashok Sarkar.
The BJP leader Ranjeet Majumdar was arrested on Saturday by Kolkata police for allegedly duping several people by assuring them LPG dealership under a central government scheme in exchange of money. BJP and RSS workers were lured to apply for LPG distribution and barring 19, the rest were cheated in the process. The Police acknowledged that there was a major corruption in the state in the name of LPG or cooking gas dealership.
BJP fired Majumdar in August
Majumdar was the central state coordinator for BJP but was removed from the post after the controversy erupted in August 2018. The BJP has, however, said Majumdar had been framed, and that the party would support him.
The complainant had named senior BJP and RSS members while alleging that some influential leaders in the state had recommended the names of the beneficiaries. Majumdar has been charged under IPC Sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
The complaint also mentioned that a list of 235 individuals was sent to a senior RSS leader for approval and hints at a large scale corruption which might have its roots spread throughout the state.
BJP source said that Majumdar is close to oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan who controls the distribution of LPG gas distributorship. LPG and petrol pump have been used by different administrations to usurp money for many decades now. A source LPG distributorship goes for about 2 crores and a petrol pump for as much as 5 crores in kickback.
On Majumdar's tip-off, the SIT also arrested Bidhan Sarkar, BJP mandal President in Murshidabad district, and one of his associates.
In recent weeks, recorded audio calls have surfaced with conversations between the cheated workers and senior BJP leaders in the state. We will not publish those calls because we can't authenticate them but the police should be looking at them.
Clean image of BJP may be in jeopardy
One of the big claims of PM Modi has been a corruption free India. But as these reports and arrests emerge, the BJP will try and shake it off as a Mamata Banerjee created scandal. The BJP will have to give some answers about the recorded phone calls.
India is ranked 81st most corrupt country in the world on a list of 180 countries released by Transparency International.