West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee – both arrested in connection with the teacher recruitment scam last week – were on Monday sent to ED custody till August 3. Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the alleged scam. -Off, prayed for 14-day custody of Chatterjee before a special court of the company, which said that AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, after the check-up, ruled out the hospitalization of the minister.
The ED, in its plea, said that Chatterjee had taken admission in the Bengal government-run SSKM Hospital on the pretext of illness and the company could not interrogate him during the two-day remand granted by the Chief Metropolitan Justice of Peace on Saturday.
However, the ED had sought a 13-day custody of Mukherjee. Mukherjee’s counsel prayed that he be given some time in custody and his safety be ensured in the wake of Sunday’s accident, when a car rammed into a car in a convoy carrying the company’s CGO complex from the court.
The Calcutta High Court had on Sunday directed the ED to take Chatterjee to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar by air ambulance for medical examination.
Chatterjee may be sent back to Kolkata on Tuesday morning instead of today. He is scheduled to reach the Kolkata airport at around 7 am, after which he will be taken to the ED headquarters in Salt Lake. Chatterjee, who was the state’s education minister from 2014 to 2021, was arrested last Saturday after ED officials said he was not cooperating with the interrogators who were questioning him since Friday morning. He was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the scam in April and May this year.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday broke her silence on Chatterjee’s arrest. mentioned That she does not help corruption and has no idea that anyone has been sentenced to life imprisonment who has been held responsible.
“If anyone is found guilty, that person should be punished accordingly, whether it is life imprisonment. I didn’t get any idea,” the CM said while addressing an award function of the state government in Kolkata.
Banerjee, however, pulled up the opposition for a “malicious campaign” targeting him. Referring to the video shared by the BJP, in which she was seen interacting with Arpita Mukherjee, the CM said that the Trinamool Congress has nothing to do with her.
“This occasion has nothing to do with that woman, nor do I know her. I cannot be a part of the media trial that is happening. If I go to several Durga Puja pandals and work closely with the people there, does it mean that I know them personally? No. And if so, then what about Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who were photographed with BJP leaders? he requested.
(with PTI inputs)