The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested Trinamul Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya after questioning him overnight in connection with the alleged teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal.
He was arrested on grounds of not cooperating with the investigating agency.
Bhattacharya is the second Trinamul Congress leader arested in connection with the scam after Partha Chatterjee, former education minister who was arrested in July. Chatterjee is accused of irregularities in recruitment of teachers in state-aided and state-run secondary and higher secondary schools through the West Bengal School Service Commission. The Central investigation agency had recovered cash worth Rs 50 crores from two flats of Chatterjee’s aide Arpita Mukherjee in Kolkata during raids.
The ED which is investigating the money trail in the scam has claimed that Chatterjee’s WhatsApp chat history shows conversation regarding Bhattacharya’s involvement in collecting bribes.
Bhattacharya was the president of West Bengal Board of Primary Education, which recruits teachers for state-funded primary schools in Bengal.
He was removed from the post in June on the basis of an order of Calcutta High Court.
Bhattacharya represents the Palashipara Assembly constituency in Nadia district. He was taken for a medical test and later produced in court during the day.
In September Bhattacharya had appealed to the Supreme Court after the single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of Calcutta High Court had ordered him to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation ( CBI). The apex court on September 30 had provided relief to Bhattacharya from arrest till further orders.
The CBI is looking into the alleged irregularities in the recruitment process and the ED is tracking the money trail, a source said.
The relief provided to Bhattacharya by the top court is for CBI and not for ED which is conducting a parallel investigation into the scam, the source said.
It is alleged that large number of candidates who had not cracked the recruitment tests had been provided jobs in exchange of huge amount of rupees while many deserving aspirants were not given the jobs.