Former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee’s judicial custody was extended separately by two special courts on prayers by the CBI and the ED in connection with their investigation into the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam.
A special PMLA court here, before which Chatterjee was produced over a virtual platform, granted the plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and extended his judicial custody till November 30.
Praying for his bail before the court, Chatterjee’s lawyers submitted that he is an aged person with several ailments and has been in custody for 99 days.
They claimed that no evidence has been collected by the investigating agency to establish the allegations levelled against Chatterjee.
The ED arrested Chatterjee on July 23 in connection with its probe into alleged money laundering in the recruitment scam. The CBI later took him in its remand, on a court order, for questioning.
Thereafter, he has been in judicial custody in connection with the CBI and the ED cases.
His alleged close associate Arpita Mukherjee was also arrested on the same day by the ED after Rs 49.80 crore in cash, apart from bullion, jewellery and property deeds, were seized by the agency from two apartments owned by her in Kolkata.
Opposing the bail prayer, ED counsel submitted that Chatterjee and Mukherjee have been found to be involved in money laundering and claimed that ED has traced more than 100 bank accounts used for such acts.
The counsel claimed that ED is in the process of examining these accounts.
The court also extended the judicial remand of Mukherjee, who did not move any bail prayer.
Earlier in the day, the judge of the special CBI court here, before whom Chatterjee was produced physically, too, rejected a bail prayer of the former minister and further remanded him in judicial custody till November 14.
Answering queries from the media on whether he still owed allegiance to the Trinamool Congress, Chatterjee, while being taken out of the special CBI court at Alipore, said, “I am with my party.” Chatterjee was relieved of his ministerial duties by the Mamata Banerjee government following his arrest by the ED. He held the parliamentary affairs, and industry and commerce portfolios when he was arrested.
The ruling TMC also removed him from all posts he held in the party, including that of its secretary general.
Chatterjee held the education portfolio when irregularities in appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff in West Bengal government-sponsored and -aided schools took place in 2014, allegedly on the recommendations of the SSC.