The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday arrested the former Education minister of West Bengal, Partha Chatterjee, in connection with the SSC recruitment scam, news agency PTI reported today. The arrest comes a day after the probe agency recovered Rs 20 crore in cash in raids on the minister’s aide Arpita Mukherjee, who has also been detained.
The ED on Friday conducted raids at the residences of names allegedly involved in the SSC recruitment scam, including Minister of State for Education Paresh C Adhikary, LA and ex-president of West Bengal Board of Primary Education Manik Bhattacharya, and others.
“The said amount (Rs 20 crore) is suspected to be proceeds of crime of the said SSC scam,” the central probe agency said in an official statement. The search team has taken the assistance of bank officials in the counting of cash through cash-counting machines.
Leader of Opposition in Bengal, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Suvendu Adhikari targeted Trinamool Congress, after visuals showed the huge amounts of cash seized.
“Guilty by Association – A legal phenomenon used to describe when an individual is guilty of committing a crime through knowing someone else. Just saying. Yeh toh bas trailer hai, picture abhi baki hai…,” tweeted Adhikari.
Apart from the huge sum of cash, 20 mobile phones were also recovered from Mukherjee’s house. The phones were likely used in the SSC recruitment scam, but the final words are ascertained, ED said in its statement.
The others who were raided in relation to the SSC recruitment scam include PK Bandopadhyay, OSD to Partha Chatterjee when he was the state education minister earlier, his former PS, Sukanta Acharjee, Chandan Mondal alias Ranjan, a mediator who allegedly used to make money on the promise of giving school teacher jobs, Kalyanmay Bhattacharya, son-in-law of Partha Bhattacharya; Krishna C Adhikary, and Dr. SP Sinha, advisor of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission – convenor of the five-member committee.
The list also includes Kalyanmoy Ganguly, the ex-president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education; Saumitra Sarkar, ex-president of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission; and Alok Kumar Sarkar, the deputy director of the School Education Department who were raided by the agency on Friday.
“A number of incriminating documents, records, details of questionable companies, electronic devices, foreign currency, and gold have been recovered from the premises of persons linked to the scam,” the federal probe agency said.
Speaking on ED’s raid, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “TMC has no link with the money recovered in the raids. Ones whose names have cropped up in the investigation, it is their responsibility or their lawyers to answer questions. Trinamool is watching the development and will respond.”
Earlier, the Calcutta High Court, in a number of writ petitions, had recently directed the CBI to carry out investigations into the recruitment scam of Group ‘C’ & ‘D’ staff, Assistant Teachers of classes IX-XII, and primary teachers. In these cases, ED is investigating cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).