Mukul Roy slaps legal notice on Deb

*Asks him to explain his remarks on black money

Union minister of state for Shipping and Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy has sent a legal notice to state Housing minister Gautam Deb, asking to explain him why he had made derogatory remarks on the use of black money by the Trinamool Congress during elections. Civil and criminal defamation charges would be brought against Deb if he fails to seek a public apology or provide an explanation, the notice stated. The notice was sent to Deb by speed-post.

Roy's lawyer Rajdip Majumdar said, "We have sent a legal notice to Gautam Deb asking why he made such comments without knowing actual facts. But even though 24 hours have passed after serving the notice, we have not received any reply from him." The counsel said the notice has asked Deb to apologise publicly for the "derogatory comments", failing which he would file a civil and criminal defamation suit on Roy's behalf against the Housing minister.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose said Deb made these allegations for he was aware of the facts. "We will also inform the Election Commission about the details," he said adding, "The CPM had also used a helicopter once to fly an ailing Jyoti Basu during the election campaign. We know how much it costs to use an helicopter. We know for sure the two helicopters were booked in the name of Mamata Banerjee and Mukul Roy."

He further said, "To book a helicopter, one needs to pay on an hourly-basis even when it is grounded. So your guess is as good as mine on the costs. It might go into crores." Mamata had reiterated on Sunday the choppers had been provided to her by the Congress.

On how his party manages its finances, Bose said, "Every paisa is accounted for. We collect money in two ways ó levy paid by party members and a day's wage or salary donated by supporters and sympathisers. A quota is provided to every district unit of the party and the amount is deposited to the state party fund...We use most of our funds to build party offices and not for any personal purpose. We do not accept donations from business groups," he said.

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