Teacher recruitment scam: ED arrests West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested West Bengal Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee in Kolkata on Saturday for his suspected involvement in the teacher recruitment scam. Chatterjee, who was the state's education minister when the scandal occurred, was arrested after approximately 26 hours of questioning in relation to the investigation. He was reportedly taken to the ED's office in the Salt Lake City area.
- The raids were denounced by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of West Bengal as a "ploy" by the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the central level to "harass" political opponents.
- The BJP, on the other hand, said that since coming to power, the Trinamool Congress had "supported large-scale abnormalities" in the appointment of teachers at the primary, upper primary, and secondary levels.
"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 ED tweeted while sharing pictures of the raid. "Chatterjee wasn't cooperating with our officers who were questioning him since Friday morning. He will be produced before a court during the day," an ED official reportedly stated.
The ED discovered Rs. 20 crore in cash from the home of an acquaintance of minister Chatterjee on Friday. "The said amount is suspected to be proceeds of crime of the said SSC scam," the ED reportedly stated. The search parties are enlisting the help of bank staff to count the cash, mostly Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 500 notes, using counting machines.
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
Over 20 mobile phones have been seized from Arpita Mukherjee's residence. She is reportedly close to Chatterjee. Their purpose and usage are currently being determined. Besides Chatterjee, the ED conducted searches at the houses of current Education Minister Paresh C Adhikary and MLA Manik Bhattacharya, among others. Some photos taken during the raid reveal that Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 500 notes were recovered.
"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," Firhad Hakim, the West Bengal Transport Minister, reportedly stated over the issue.