WB SSC Scam: Partha Chatterjee Called Mamata Banerjee Thrice Post Arrest But Didn't Get A Response

Arpita Mukherjee was also arrested on Saturday evening and was sent to one-day ED custody on Sunday by the Bankshall Court in Kolkata. She will be produced before a special PMLA court today.

By Talibuddin Khan
Mon, 25 Jul 2022 02:13 PM IST
Minute Read
WB SSC Scam: Partha Chatterjee Called Mamata Banerjee Thrice Post Arrest But Didn't Get A Response
West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee in a wheelchair while being shifted to AIIMS Bhubaneswar from SSKM hospital. (ANI Photo)

Arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday was airlifted to AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, as per the direction of the Calcutta High Court. Partha Chatterjee, arrested in connection with an alleged school jobs scam, was accompanied by the sleuths of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The Calcutta High Court on July 24 directed the ED, which had arrested Chatterjee in connection with its probe into the scam, to take him to the health facility by air ambulance.

"The Bengal minister has been admitted to the private ward after his arrival here. After a screening of his health condition, the minister was taken to a special cabin," an official of the AIIMS Bhubaneswar said, adding, that two counsels representing Chatterjee also accompanied him to the Odisha capital.

Meanwhile, media reports, referring to Partha Chatterjee's arrest memo, have stated that the senior TMC leader had called West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee thrice after his arrest by the ED in the teachers' jobs scam. However, all his three calls to Mamata Banerjee went unanswered. As per the police, an accused is allowed to call his/her relatives or friends to inform them about their arrest.

According to Chatterjee's arrest memo, the 70-year-old former education minister of West Bengal chose to call his boss Mamata Banerjee but she didn't answer his three calls. He made the first call at around 2:30, nearly half an hour after his arrest in the case. He again called her at 3:37 am, while the third call was made in the morning at around 9:35 am. "He called her but she didn't take his call," the arrest memo stated.

However, the Trinamool Congress has denied these claims and said that the minister's phone was with the ED sleuths, hence, there was no question of Partha Chatterjee calling Mamata Banerjee. "As soon as an arrest is made, the phone is generally seized by the agency sleuths. So how could Partha Chatterjee try to contact the Chief Minister?", TMC leader Firhad Hakim said, as quoted by IANS.

The party leadership also made it clear that it will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against Chatterjee if he is found guilty at the end of the investigation. The TMC also announced that the onus of the entire development lay with Chatterjee, and not the party.

Chatterjee, who is currently the industries and parliamentary affairs minister of the Mamata Banerjee government, was remanded to ED custody till Monday by a lower court in Kolkata. He was the education minister when the alleged teacher recruitment scam took place at West Bengal government-run and-aided schools. The Calcutta HC directed that the minister, be produced before a special ED court in Kolkata through virtual mode at 4 PM on Monday.

Chatterjee's arrest followed the recovery of Rs 21 crore cash and Rs 1 crore worth of jewellery at his close aide Arpita Mukherjee's residence in Kolkata. Arpita Mukherjee was also arrested on Saturday evening and was sent to one-day ED custody on Sunday by the Bankshall Court in Kolkata. She will be produced before a special PMLA court today.

The ED, probing the WBSSC scam, suspect that the assets recovered from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee were just a small portion of the actual reserve. While recovering the assets, the ED sleuths have come across some other incriminating documents that hint at a large number of cash transfers by Mukherjee using the route of private money transfer agents.

These documents also suggest that a certain amount of cash was also transferred through the hawala route to Bangladesh. The assets recovered so far are Rs 21.20 crore worth of Indian currency, gold ornaments of the estimated market value of around Rs 90 lakhs, foreign currency valued at around Rs 60 lakhs, several high-end smartphones, sale deeds of multiple flats and ownership documents of multiple luxury vehicles.

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