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India

“A Victim Of Conspiracy,” Says Partha Chatterjee Arrested By ED, Sacked By TMC

Chatterjee faces ED probe into irregularities in recruitment of teachers by the West Bengal School Service Commission. He was the education minister of West Bengal when the alleged scam took place.

ED Partha Chatterjee
West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee being shifted to AIIMS Bhubaneswar from SSKM hospital as per order of Calcutta High court, in Kolkata on Monday. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi: Former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, who has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a recruitment scam, on Friday claimed that he was a victim of a conspiracy. Chatterjee was sacked from his cabinet and party posts by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday as he faces a probe into irregularities in recruitment of teachers by the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC).

The 69-year-old leader on Friday claimed that he was just a “victim of a conspiracy” while he was being taken to ESI hospital at Joka on the southern outskirts of the city for a medical-check up during the day. He was serving as the industries and parliamentary affairs minister before being stripped of all posts yesterday.

Chatterjee was the education minister of West Bengal when the alleged scam took place. The arrest happened on Saturday, July 22, after police seized Rs 21 crore in cash from premises linked to a close aide of Chatterjee. So far, at least 50 crore cash has been unearthed from the premises of his aide Arpita Mukherjee, who has also been arrested by the ED.

On Thursday evening, the ED raided a third apartment linked to Mukherjee in the city’s Chinar Park area. As the flat was locked and the keys could not be traced, ED sleuths broke open its entrance door in the presence of central force officers.

Earlier, a raid was carried out in Mukherjee’s Belghoria area flat, where around Rs 28 crore unaccounted cash was apparently found stashed along with large quantities of gold and silver.

The central agency had also reportedly seized over Rs 21 crore in cash from another flat belonging to Mukherjee in Tollygunge area. The value of gold jewellery is still being ascertained, according to ED sources.

According to ED sources, Arpita Mukherjee on Thursday confessed during interrogation that the cash recovered from premises linked to her belonged to Chatterjee. She has claimed that she doesn’t know where it came from.

The case pertains to the alleged irregularities committed in the recruitment of Group-C and -D staff as well as teachers in government-sponsored and -aided schools on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission. While the CBI is probing the case as directed by the Calcutta High Court, the ED is looking into the money trail involved in the scam.

(With PTI inputs)