Kolkata: West Bengal’s famous SSC recruitment scam accused Partha Chatterjee has been sacked from the post of minister by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The West Bengal government on Thursday issued a statement saying that Partha Chatterjee has been relieved of his duties as the minister in charge of his departments with effect from July 28.
Several other leaders, including state general secretary and spokesperson of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) Kunal Ghosh in Bengal, had demanded that Partha Chatterjee, arrested in connection with the SSC scam probe, should be immediately removed from the post of minister. In a tweet, Ghosh had said that he should be expelled from the party immediately.
According to Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials, around Rs 50 crore in cash and crores of gold jewelery have been recovered from the apartment of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of Partha Chatterjee. Apart from this, some properties and documents related to foreign exchange have also been recovered.
A cache of notes found from Arpita’s house
ED has recovered huge quantity of gold jewelery and cash worth Rs 27.9 crore from another apartment of Arpita Mukherjee. Mukherjee is considered a close aide of the arrested West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee. Cash was recovered from an apartment in Belgharia on Wednesday and after overnight counting, Rs 27.90 crore was found, officials said on Thursday morning.
The probe agency had recovered over Rs 21 crore in cash, besides jewelery and foreign currency, from another flat of Mukherjee in South Kolkata’s Tollygunge area five days ago. In total, cash worth Rs 50 crore has been recovered so far, officials said. ED officials on Wednesday raided various locations in Rajdanga in South Kolkata and Belgharia in North Kolkata.
Trinamool Congress general secretary Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee, who were influential ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s government, were arrested on July 23. He was arrested after cash was found in Arpita Mukherjee’s Tollygunge flat. When the SSC scam happened, Partha Chatterjee was the education minister of the state.
Arpita Mukherjee on Thursday confessed to the ED that she was coerced after two consecutive recovery of huge amounts of cash and gold from her two residences in Tollygunge and Belgharia in Kolkata. Partha Chatterjee had asked to allow their houses to be used for keeping illegal cash.
According to ED sources, Mukherjee also admitted that the cash recovered from his residence was kept there by Chatterjee with the help of one of his unidentified associates. An ED official said Arpita has confessed that Chatterjee used to visit both her Tollygunge and Belgharia residences once or twice a week and was accompanied by an unidentified person.
The official said that Chatterjee had given strict instructions to Arpita not to open the cupboards and to avoid repeated visits to the rooms from where the cash was recovered. It is learned that whenever Chatterjee used to visit Arpita Mukherjee’s residence, the minister used to hold closed-door meetings with unidentified persons. Arpita was not allowed to participate in it.