School Jobs Scam: Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, Aide Sent To ED Custody Till August 3

A court on Monday sent West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee to Enforcement Directorate’s custody till August 3 in the teacher recruitment scam, ANI reported. The court ordered that medical check-up should be done on the minister after every 48 hours.

Bengal industries minister Partha Chatterjee, 69, was arrested on July 23 by ED in connection with its investigation into the irregularities in the recruitment drives by the School Service Commission (SSC).

Chatterjee was the Bengal education minister from 2014 to 2021 during which the alleged irregularities in teacher recruitment occurred. The ED also seized around Rs 20 crore in cash from the house of Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of Partha Chatterjee.

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Following his arrest, Chatterjee was admitted to state-run SSKM Hospital after he complained of uneasiness. However, the Calcutta High Court directed the ED to take him to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar by an air ambulance.

On Monday, doctors at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar said the minister suffered from chronic diseases but does not need immediate hospitalisation.

Citing this, the ED sought 14 days’ custody of Partha Chatterjee before the special court. The agency also pleaded for Arpita Mukherjee’s custody for 13 days.

Appearing for the ED, additional solicitor general stated that the minister’s vital parameters like blood pressure and oxygen saturation level were within limits, and that no active intervention was required.

Chatterjee’s lawyer, however, pleaded for his bail. Mukherjee ‘s counsel prayed that a short custody be given for her and that her security be ensured in the wake of Sunday ‘s accident, when a vehicle hit a car of the convoy ferrying her from court to the ED’s CGO complex, PTI reported.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, breaking her silence on the arrest of Partha Chatterjee, said she doesn’t support “corruption or any wrongdoing”. Banerjee, however, said the “truth must come out but within a time frame” even as she condemned the “malicious campaign” against her, PTI reported.

“I don’t support corruption or any wrongdoing. If anyone is found guilty, he or she must be punished, but I condemn malicious campaign against me,” Banerjee said.

“A verdict should be given based on the truth, within a given time frame. If someone is found guilty, I do not mind if they are punished with life imprisonment. If someone has been involved in wrong activities, none of us will interfere no matter how harsh a verdict they face. We will not support them,” the TMC supremo further said.