- Partha Chatterjee said that he was a victim of a conspiracy hatched against him
- He was sacked from TMC, relieved of ministerial duties after his arrest in connection with SSC scam
- One of his close aides, Arpita Mukherjee, was also arrested by ED after crores of rupees was found
Partha Chatterjee, a Bengal minister who was sacked from the TMC and relieved of ministerial duties, following his arrest in connection with a school recruitment scam, Friday said that he was a victim of a conspiracy hatched against him.
The 69-year-old leader, who is in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate, was taken to ESI hospital at Joka on the southern outskirts of the city for a medical check up during the day. As he deboarded a vehicle and was approached by reporters, Chatterjee said he was just a “victim of a conspiracy”.
Later, on his exit from the hospital, Chatterjee also said that only time would tell if the action taken against him by the TMC was justified. Chatterjee, who was the industries and parliamentary affairs minister, had held the education portfolio when the scam was allegedly pulled off.
He was relieved of his duties as minister in-charge of various departments, and suspended from the TMC on Thursday. One of his close aides, Arpita Mukherjee, was also arrested by the ED after crores of rupees in cash were seized from her residences in parts of the city.
Mukherjee, who was taken to ESI hospital for check-up in a separate car, was seen breaking down on her arrival at the medical facility. According to ED sources, both Chatterjee and Mukherjee were being questioned at the agency's CGO complex at the moment.
On Thursday evening, officials of the central agency had raided a third apartment linked to Mukherjee in the city's Chinar Park area. As the flat was locked and the keys could not be traced, ED sleuths broke open its entrance door in the presence of central force officers.
Earlier, a raid was carried out in Mukherjee’s Belghoria area flat, where around Rs 28 crore unaccounted cash was apparently found stashed along with large quantities of gold and silver. The central agency had also reportedly seized over Rs 21 crore in cash from another flat belonging to Mukherjee in Tollygunge area.
The value of the gold jewellery is still being ascertained, according to ED sources. The CBI, as directed by Calcutta High Court, is probing the alleged irregularities committed in the recruitment of Group-C and -D staff as well as teachers in government-sponsored and -aided schools on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission. The ED is looking into the money trail involved in the scam.