– Mita Mukhherjee
A day after he was sacked from the state cabinet and suspended from the Trinamul Congress party, Partha Chatterjee, former Bengal education minister who has been arrested in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam case claimed on Friday that he is a “victim of conspiracy.”
He told reporters to see the decision to suspend him from the party and also questioned the timing of the decision.
The 69-year old leader who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate was taken to ESI Hospital at Joka in the southern fringe of the city on Friday for a medical check-up.
“I am a victim of conspiracy,” Chatterjee said when he was approached by reporters in front of the hospital.
Later while coming out of the hospital when he was repeatedly asked whose conspiracy it was, he said “ See the party’s decision.”
When asked whether this decision was correct, Chatterjee said “ The timing is not right. This will influence an impartial probe…. Time will only tell whether the party is right or wrong.
Chatterjee, arrested on July 23 by the Enforcement Directorate is accused of irregularities in the recruitment of teachers in state-aided and state run schools in Bengal through the West Bengal School Service Commission.
Chatterjee’s aide Arpita Mukherjee who has also been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate too claimed today that she was “a victim of conspiracy” while she was being taken to the same hospital on Friday. Mukherjee, according to sources, was known to Chatterjee since 2015.
Chatterjee was presently holding the portfolios of industry, commerce and enterprise , parliamentary affairs and public enterprises and industrial reconstruction in Mamata Banerjee’s government.
As for his party portfolios, he was the secretary general of the Trinamul Congress, national vice-president, national working committee member of the party, the editor of the party mouthpiece Jago Bangla and member of the party disciplinary committee and member of many more committees of the party.
The central investigation agency has recovered over Rs 50 crores in cash during raids on Chatterjee’s aide Mukherjee’s two flats in Kolkata. It seized Rs 21. 9 crore in cash, gold jewellery worth Rs 78 lakhs and foreign exchange from one of several apartments of Mukherjee at Tollygunge in south Kolkata. Later on Wednesday the Enforcement Directorate seized at least Rs 28 crore and gold from another apartment of Mukherjee in Belgharia in the northern fringes of the city.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday had removed Chatterjee from all the departments he looked after in connection with the alleged anomalies in the SSC recruitment scam and she took over all the portfolios of Chatterjee for the time being.
Before the chief minister’s announcement, the state government issued a notification stating that Chatterjee had been “relieved of his duties as minister”.
A few hours after Chatterjee was sacked by the government, Trinamul Congress all India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee announced the party’s decision to suspend Chatterjee from the party.
Meanwhile, Abhishek Banerjee on Friday met a delegation of SSC candidates who had been protesting against the anomalies in the recruitment and assured them justice will be delivered.
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