“No one will be spared,” a visibly agitated Partha Chatterjee thundered as he made his way into the Kolkata sessions court where his plea for bail in the multi-crore teachers’ recruitment, or the SSC scam, was to come up for hearing. Minutes later, the court sent Partha and his aide Arpita Mukherjee, both currently in Enforcement Directorate remand since their arrest on July 23, to 14-day judicial custody till August 31.
“No one will be spared. Everything will be proven in time,” said Partha, who was stripped of all party positions and the multiple ministerial portfolios he held in the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government. He, however, did not specify to whom his warning applied. Partha and Arpita have been under ED scanner in their probe into illegal recruitments done by the School Service Commission (SSC) for West Bengal government-sponsored schools.
The ED has claimed that it recovered Rs 49.80 crore in cash, jewellery and gold bars from apartments owned by Mukherjee, besides documents of properties and a company in joint holding. The duo also faces charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
After ED had arrested Chatterjee following the recovery of huge piles of cash from Mukherjee’s properties, a cornered TMC decided to distance itself from the arrested leader and subsequently stripped him of all party posts and portfolios.
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Seeking bail on medical grounds during the hearing today, Chatterjee’s counsel told the court, “If he is further kept in custody he won’t get medical assistance. His life will be in danger. Nothing has been recovered from Partha’s possession. The Enforcement Directorate went for interrogation on the last day of judicial custody. After getting 14 days’ time, is it a way to conduct an investigation?” he asked. The ED countered by arguing that there were no medical anomalies found when he was examined at AIIMS Bhuvaneshwar and the ESI hospital in Kolkata. The ED further mentioned that during his custody, he has been sent for medical examination to the Central government-run ESI hospital at regular intervals.
During the hearing, the ED also alleged that Chatterjee had torn the paper on which his statement was recorded when he was asked to sign on it. The ED is probing Chatterjee’s alleged role in the scam connected with the recruitment of high school teachers when he was the Education Minister of the state.
“We had quizzed Arpita yesterday and she has given us several leads on the basis of which we will be questioning Partha Chatterjee today,” an official told PTI.