NEW DELHI: Amid the row over the alleged involvement of former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee in teacher recruitment scam, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT department in-charge Amit Malviya on Friday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had no option other than to sack Chatterjee.
"After over Rs 50 crore in cash and gold was recovered from Partha Chatterjee's close aide's home, Mamata Banerjee had no option but to sack him from ministership and party positions. However, Minister of State for Education Paresh Adhikary is still in West Bengal cabinet," Malviya told ANI.
Meanwhile, Former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee on Friday said that he is being framed in a conspiracy, a day after he was stripped of his portfolios and his positions in the Trinamool Congress (TMC) by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday.
"I have been framed, I'm a victim of conspiracy," Chatterjee said six days after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged teacher recruitment scam, in which the agency recovered cash worth Rs 50 crore. Chatterjee - who is now suspended from TMC and his aide Arpita Mukherjee have separately claimed that they are a "victim of conspiracy." TMC which had been distancing itself from its arrested leader Partha Chatterjee, axed him as a minister on Thursday and suspended him from the party leaving it to him to defend himself in the Enforcement Directorate probe in the teacher recruitment scam in which crores of rupees have been seized from residences linked to his aide Arpita Mukherjee.
TMC's decision to part ways with one of its most senior leaders was announced by party leader Abhishek Banerjee at a press conference in which he said "if anyone commits something wrong then TMC will not spare him" and 'there will be zero tolerance for corruption".
He said Partha Chatterjee will remain suspended till probe is underway. Notably, Chatterjee was considered one of the most trusted lieutenants of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a "go-to" man and was regarded third in the party hierarchy after the chief Minister and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
After his arrest by the ED on Saturday, Partha Chatterjee had called Mamata Banerjee four times.
But, she did not take his calls. Political observers said that Partha Chatterjee has been virtually left in the cold by the party to defend himself in the face of apparently onerous allegations in the ED probe.
They said that the TMC move is also aimed at cutting any losses due to ED probe in the teacher recruitment scam. Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the ED in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) scam in West Bengal on Saturday.
Chatterjee was arrested after ED recovered Rs 21 crore in cash and jewellery worth above Rs 1 crore from the Kolkata residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of the former minister.
The ED unearthed many disproportionate assets allegedly of Partha Chatterjee since his arrest, of which were three flats in West Bengal's Diamond City.
The ED raided Arpita Mukerjee's house in connection with an alleged teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal. "The said amount is suspected to be proceeds of crime of the said SSC scam," the probe agency had said in a statement.
The officials reached her residence at the Royal Residency flat at Chinar Park in New Town in West Bengal's Kolkata along with the Central Force personnel.
The ED had on Thursday morning left the Belgharia residence of Arpita Mukherjee after filling ten trunks with cash amounting to approximately Rs 27.90 crore that was found there.
ED sleuths on Wednesday began their fresh searches on the premises linked to Arpita Mukherjee. The flat of her mother at Belgharia Club town in North 24 Parganas and three other premises was covered in the action initiated on Wednesday.
One of the two flats of Arpita Mukherjee, in Belghoria, has been sealed by ED. ED officials also conducted a raid at the residence of businessman Manoj Jain in Ballygunge.
Jain is reportedly an aide of Partha Chatterjee. A five-time MLA, Chatterjee was appointed as the minister-in-charge of higher education and school education in 2014 and he held the portfolio till 2021.