I am victim of conspiracy: Partha Chatterjee on WBSSC scam

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.
Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee PTI

KOLKATA: A day after he was stripped of all posts in the TMC and relieved of ministerial duties, following his arrest in connection with a school recruitment scam, Partha Chatterjee on 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, has also been 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 the ESI hospital for check-up ina separate car, was seen breaking down on her arrival at the medical facility.

According to ED sources, the two faced questioning on their return from the hospital at the agency's CGO complex.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders have demanded more clarifications over Chatterjee's “conspiracy” allegations.

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said Chatterjee should name the people involved in the conspiracy, if there was one.

“Bengal has earned a bad repute due to this school recruitment scam. Career of so many people have been destroyed due to the scam,” Chakraborty said.

In a similar vein, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said the former minister should reveal who all were involved in the conspiracy, as he had claimed to be a victim of some devious plan.

“Chatterjee is not a common man. He was a powerful minister and a senior TMC leader. He should take names of people involved in the conspiracy,” he stated.

TMC MP Shantanu Sen maintained that his party had zero tolerance for corruption.

He also asserted that the ruling camp had no connection with the woman or the cash seized from her residences.

On Thursday evening, central agency officials 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 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, the ED sources said.

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.

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