KOLKATA: West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and later sent to its custody for two days by a court on Saturday, a day after it recovered Rs 20 crore from the premises of his close aide and actor Arpita Mukherjee.
Chatterjee, who is minister of commerce and industry, parliamentary affairs, electronics & IT, and the former minister in-charge of education in the Mamata cabinet, was arrested on Saturday morning following overnight grilling in the SSC teachers’ recruitment scam case by ED sleuths at his home in Tollygunj.
ED later arrested Mukherjee, who was also questioned after piles of cash was recovered from one of her premises in South Kolkata.
The seized cash is suspected to be the proceeds of crime, punishable under Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act of. The agency had to take assistance of bank officials to count the cash through counting machines considering the enormity of the amount and wads of notes.
More than 20 mobile phones were also recovered during the searches, the purpose and use of which are being ascertained, the ED said.
Besides Chatterjee and Mukherjee, the ED on Friday carried out searches at the premises of MoS education Paresh C Adhikary, his former OSD PK Bandopadhyay, and his then personal secretary Sukanta Acharjee, and MLA & former president of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education Manik Bhattacharya.
The properties of agents who allegedly sold teachers’ posts to aspirants and several other officials of the state government were also searched.
“A number of incriminating documents, records, details of dubious companies, electronic devices, foreign currency and gold have also been recovered from the various premises of the persons linked to the scam,” the ED stated.
The searches and arrest come months after the Calcutta high court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out a probe into the recruitment scam of Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ staff, assistant teachers of classes IX-XII and primary teachers.
Apart from the CBI, the ED is also probing financial irregularities into the “illegal appointment” of teaching staff and non-teaching staff in primary school.
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