Kolkata: West Bengal Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee, a close aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was Saturday arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged School Service Commission recruitment scam.
His arrest came after a marathon overnight interrogation by ED officials at his Kolkata residence that began Friday morning.
ED officials had also seized Rs 20 crore in cash from one of the properties of Chatterjee’s “close associate”, Arpita Mukherjee, during raids on Friday. Mukherjee has also been detained by the ED.
The ED had raided 13 locations across West Bengal to ascertain the money link in this latest scam that has hit the Mamata Banerjee-government.
TMC General Secretary Kunal Ghosh told ThePrint that the party will issue a statement at “an appropriate time”. Ghosh also said the party has “no connection” with the people involved in the scam.
What is the SSC scam
The Calcutta High Court had on 6 December, 2021 formed a committee to probe alleged irregularities in appointments by West Bengal Central School Service Commission. The 68-page report was submitted before the single bench of Justice Gangopadhyay in March this year.
In a report, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint, it was found that irregular and illegal appointments were made by West Bengal School Service Commission in filling up of Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ staff.
Irregularities were also found in recruitment of primary and assistant teachers in West Bengal government-run schools in 2019 after the expiry of the panel that was originally formed in 2016 to fill up the vacancies.
Chatterjee, who was education minister at the time; Paresh Adhikari, MoS Education; Manik Bhattacharya, MLA and former president of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education; PK Bandopadhyay, OSD to then MIC of Education Chatterjee; Sukanta Acharjee, personal secretary to then MIC of Education Chatterjee; S. P. Sinha, advisor of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission and convenor of the five-member committee; Kalyanmoy Ganguly, former president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education; Saumitra Sarkar, former president of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission; and Alok Kumar Sarkar, deputy director, School Education Department are all under investigation by both the ED and CBI.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI investigation to unearth the “larger conspiracy” in the illegal recruitments on 22 November 2021.