SSC recruitment scam: Partha Chatterjee flown to Bhubaneswar after HC order, to appear before court virtually

The HC, while passing the order, observed that the state-run medical facility has been used in the past to shelter influential political leaders from arrest.

SSC recruitment scam: Partha Chatterjee flown to Bhubaneswar after HC order, to appear before court virtually
State minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday in connection with its probe into the alleged school jobs scam, was hospitalised at SSKM after he complained of "uneasiness".

West Bengal Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday was taken to the AIIMS Bhubaneshwar by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after the Calcutta High Court on Sunday, while hearing ED’s plea for shifting Chatterjee from the state-run SSKM hospital to the central government facility, directed the agency to take the accused to Bhubaneshwar by air ambulance.

The single judge bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri further directed Chatterjee to appear before the Special Judge of the ED court in Kolkata virtually at 4 pm on Monday. Chatterjee was arrested on Saturday by the ED in connection with the SSC teachers’ recruitment scam that took place when he was the Education Minister of the state. He was arrested as the central agency claimed he was being evasive in his replies after 27 hours of questioning. A day before his arrest, the ED had seized Rs 21 crore cash, foreign currencies and gold from one of Chatterjee’s close aides Arpita Mukherjee’s residence. Mukherjee was sent to one-day ED custody and will be produced before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court today.

On Sunday, the ED had challenged the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s order which allowed Chatterjee to be admitted to the state-run SSKM hospital after the TMC leader had complained of physical uneasiness and demanded immediate medical treatment. The ED, while arguing before the HC said that Chatterjee was behaving like a ‘don’ in the state-run SSKM hospital, while adding that Chatterjee was only pretending to be ill.

The HC, while passing the order, observed that the state-run medical facility has been used in the past to shelter influential political leaders from arrest.

“In recent past, more than one high ranking political leaders belonging to the ruling political party were arrested or directed to appear before the Investigating Authority for interrogation and they successfully avoided interrogation by the Investigating Agency taking shelter in the said hospital. When they found that there was no possibility for the Investigating Agency to interrogate the suspects having strong political background under the umbrella of ruling political party, they were discharged from S.S.K.M. Super speciality Hospital. They avoided even production before the Court on the strength of medical report issued by the said hospital authority,” said Justice Chaudhari.

Justice Chaudhari further stated, “Under such background and considering the fact that the accused is the senior most Cabinet Minister in the State of West Bengal having immense power and position, it would not be impossible for the accused with the aide of other political executives to take shelter under the garb of serious illness and medical treatment to evade interrogation. If this happens, the Lady Justice will be cursed by the tears of hundreds and thousands of deserving candidates whose future was sacrificed in lieu of money.”

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