KOLKATA: In a fresh salvo against the Mamata Banerjee government, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday called for a "time-bound high level judicial probe" into the purchase of equipment of Rs two thousand crore to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
He alleged that "tainted purchases" were made to fight the pandemic and stressed on the need to get to the root of it.
Dhankhar, who has had several face offs with the Trinamool Congress government since he assumed office in July 2019, had earlier flayed the state's handling of coronavirus patients.
He had also urged the state to bring out a white paper on expenses at the annual Global Business Summit in Bengal and alleged misappropriation of cyclone Amphan relief money by ruling party members in his tweets.
On Thursday the governor posted on his official Twitter handle, "Have urged @MamataOfficial to vindicate stance on transparency & accountability & order a time-bound high judicial probe in the over two thousand crore pandemic purchase."
Alleging that "thousands of crores of tainted purchases" were made in the name of purchasing equipment to fight the pandemic, Dhankhar said "Need to get to the root of this multi-crore pandemic purchase by tracking ill-gotten gains of reported blatant favouritism."
"Defaulters & beneficiaries of patronage must be visited with exemplary consequences," he said.
Referring to the setting up of a panel by the Mamata Banerjee government to probe the alleged corruption in the purchase of medical equipment, Dhankhar said "Committee carries no credibility and its work will be sham, eye wash and post facto ratification."
"It defies reason as to how decision-makers of these tainted purchases of thousands of crores of rupees could themselves be in judgmental mode ex facie gross violation of acclaimed principle nemo judex in causa sua [no one is judge in his own cause)," the governor said.
"Such sordid saga while all were battling pandemic is worrisome," he added.
Dhankhar also attached his letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee which raised the same issues.
The TMC government had ordered a probe into the allegations of corruption in purchasing of medical equipment to fight Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
A three-member committee headed by the state home secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay is looking into the allegations and will submit its report to the chief secretary.