BJP hits out at TMC after West Bengal minister’s arrest in corruption case

BJP leaders said the mountain of cash seized from Mukherjee’s place has exposed the TMC’s corruption.

BJP hits out at TMC after West Bengal minister’s arrest in corruption case
West Bengal Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday in connection with its investigation into the alleged school jobs scam. (IE)

The BJP demanded on Saturday that the top leadership of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) should be questioned by probe agencies as it stepped up its attack on the party after the arrest of a West Bengal minister in an alleged jobs scam.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dilip Ghosh alleged that TMC leaders have accumulated huge amounts of money over the years, including in connection with recruitment for various posts, and said nobody will believe that its “high command” — an apparent reference to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — was not aware of this.

“Based on the evidence unearthed so far, the top leadership should be questioned,” Ghosh told reporters here, without naming anyone.

At the same press conference, Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar pointed out that Banerjee, the TMC supremo, has been at the forefront of the campaign by various opposition parties to “defame” the central probe agencies. This has been a case of “chor machaye shor” (thief making noise), he said.

West Bengal Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday in connection with its investigation into the alleged school jobs scam.

The federal probe agency also detained Chatterjee’s close aide Arpita Mukherjee, from whose premises cash amounting to Rs 21 crore was seized.

BJP leaders said the mountain of cash seized from Mukherjee’s place has exposed the TMC’s corruption.

Taking a jibe at Banerjee, Chandrasekhar said she had been praising Chatterjee and now, people know that the appreciation might be about his handling of the corruption money.

She has been trying to defame and intimidate these agencies, and a similar “drama” was seen here recently, the Union minister said, in an apparent reference to the Congress’s protests against the ED’s questioning of its president Sonia Gandhi.

“The time for dharna and drama is over. Now is the time to answer real questions. Where did the money come from?” Chandrasekhar asked the TMC.

He highlighted the cases of alleged corruption involving leaders from the BJP’s rival parties in a number of states, including Jharkhand, Punjab, Maharashtra and Karnataka, and claimed that their parties have been politicising the issue to brush their misdeeds under the carpet.

The Centre has strengthened the agencies and made them independent, the Union minister said, adding that the ED has unearthed illegal assets worth over Rs 1 lakh crore in various cases.

The opposition has frequently accused the Centre of “political vendetta” and alleged that it has misused probe agencies for political reasons.

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