Updated: Sat, 23 Jul 2022 06:30 PM IST
West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was on Saturday arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) following raids at his residence in connection with its investigation into the teacher recruitment scam. Chatterjee, who was the state education minister when the scam took place, was arrested after around 26 hours of grilling in connection with the probe. The minister was later sent to two-day ED custody. Further, ED has also arrested Arpita Mukherjee, who is the close aide of the West Bengal cabinet minister and former Education Minister.
#WATCH | Enforcement Directorate (ED) team arrests former West Bengal Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee from his residence in Kolkata. The team had been here since yesterday in connection with the SSC recruitment scam. pic.twitter.com/iGkfQNlF0X— ANI (@ANI) July 23, 2022
Chatterjee, who is currently the industry minister, was taken to the ED's office at CGO Complex in the Salt Lake area. ED has also detained Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of Chatterjee, after Rs 20 crore in cash was seized from her property. "He was not cooperating with our officers who were questioning him since Friday morning. He will be produced before a court during the day," the ED official said.
The arrest comes following the raids by the central probe agency where it seized Rs 20 crore in cash from the premises of his close associate Arpita Mukherjee, in connection with an alleged teacher recruitment scam in the state.
Earlier on Friday, Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials raided the residences of Bengal ministers Partha Chatterjee and Paresh Adhikari and several others and recovered huge cash amounting to approximately Rs 20 crore from the residential premises of Arpita Mukherjee, who is a close associate of Partha Chatterjee.
The said amount is suspected to be proceeds of crime of said SSC scam. The search team is taking the assistance of bank officials for the counting of cash through cash counting machines. A total of more than 20 mobile phones have also been recovered from the premises of Arpita Mukherjee, the purpose and use of which is 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 has also been recovered from the various premises of the persons linked to the scam.
"ED is carrying out search operations at various premises linked to recruitment scam in the West Bengal School Service Commission and West Bengal Primary Education Board," the agency said on its official Twitter handle.
ED is carrying out search operations at various premises linked to recruitment scam in the West Bengal School Service Commission and West Bengal Primary Education Board. pic.twitter.com/i4dP2SAeGG— ED (@dir_ed) July 22, 2022
TMC, BJP Quarrel Over ED Raids:
The TMC described the concerted raids as a “ploy” by the BJP government at the Centre to harass political opponents. "This raid by ED, a day after the spectacular Martyrs' Day rally that created ripples all over the country, is nothing but an attempt to harass and intimidate leaders of the TMC," senior TMC leader and minister Firhad Hakim said.
“The CBI has already interrogated them (ministers) as part of a court directive and they are cooperating. Now, the ED is being invoked only to discredit them. The money laundering issue is being invented by the BJP," he added.
The BJP, however, alleged that the TMC aided large-scale anomalies in the recruitment process of teachers at the primary, upper primary and secondary levels since coming to power in the state.
"TMC leaders and people close to them duped lakhs of qualified youths and handed over their jobs to ineligible ones. The CBI and ED are progressing on the right path. More skeletons will tumble out of the cupboard. The BJP has no role to play in the issue," BJP's Dilip Ghosh said.
(With Agencies Inputs)