Updated: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 06:33 PM IST
The West Bengal government on Thursday relieved arrested TMC leader Partha Chatterjee from his duties as Minister in Charge of his department with effect from July 28. Partha Chatterjee was the state commerce and industries minister and is currently under the custody of the Enforcement Directorate, which arrested him last week in connection with the West Bengal SSC recruitment scam.
The TMC also suspended him from all the posts he held in the party including the posts of General Secretary and National Vice President. TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said that he has been suspended till the investigation is underway and can join back if proven not guilty.
"Partha Chatterjee has been removed from TMC along with the post of General Secretary, National vice president & three other posts. He has been suspended till the investigation is underway. He can come back if proven not guilty," Abhishek Banerjee said.
The decision, taken at the state cabinet meeting today, is seen as a damage control move by the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government in the state. The West Bengal government has been facing a lot of flak since the arrest of Partha Chatterjee and the recovery of a huge amount of cash from his aide Arpita Mukherjee's residence.
"Partha Chatterjee, minister in charge, department of industry, commerce and enterprises, department of information technology and electronics, department of parliamentary affairs and department of public enterprises and industrial reconstruction, is hereby relieved of his duties as MIC of the aforesaid department with immediate effect," an official order said.
Meanwhile, chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, after issuing the sacking order, said that she will look after the portfolios held by Chatterjee for the time being. "I have removed Partha Chatterjee as a minister. My party takes strict action. There are many plannings behind it but I don't want to go into details", Banerjee said.
Earlier today, TMC leader Kunal Ghosh urged his party to sack Partha Chatterjee and also remove him from all party posts. "Partha Chatterjee should be removed from the ministry and all party posts immediately. He should be expelled. If this statement is considered wrong, the party has every right to remove me from all posts," the state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said in a tweet.
The ED today morning recovered a huge amount of cash amounting to approximately Rs 29 crore from the Belgharia residence of Arpita Mukherjee. Earlier, Rs 20 crore was recovered from her residence in South Kolkata. This brings the total cash recovered to Rs 40 crore now from her premises so far.
ED sleuths on Wednesday began their searches at the premises linked to aide Arpita Mukherjee. The flat of her mother at Belgharia Club town in North 24 Parganas and three other premises has been covered in the action initiated on Wednesday. One of the two flats of Arpita Mukherjee, in Belghoria, has been sealed by ED.
The central agency on Saturday arrested Partha Chatterjee in connection with the West Bengal Primary Education Board recruitment scam. The ED unearthed many disproportionate assets of Partha Chatterjee since his arrest, of which were three flats in West Bengal's Diamond City.
The arrests took place following the raids by the central probe agency in which it seized over Rs 20 crore in cash from the premises of his close associate Arpita Mukherjee. She was also arrested. A total of more than 20 mobile phones have also been recovered from the premises of Arpita Mukherjee, the purpose and use of which are being ascertained, said the probe agency.
Besides cash, a number of other incriminating documents, records, details of dubious companies, electronic devices, foreign currency and gold have also been recovered from various premises of the persons linked to the scam.
Partha Chatterjee, who is sacked as the minister for industries and commerce, was the education minister when the alleged illegal appointments were made in government-run and aided schools by West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC).
(With Agencies Inputs)