West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee made three calls to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after his arrest but all three went unanswered, an official document reveals.
Partha Chatterjee’s “Arrest Memo” says the 70-year-old chose his boss Mamata Banerjee for his phone call to a “relative/friend whom the person taken in custody intends to inform”.
His first call, after his arrest at around 1.55 am, was made at 2.33 am.
“He called her but she didn’t take his call,” the memo records.
Mr Chatterjee called again at 3.37 am and 9.35 am, again without luck.
According to the police, any accused person is allowed a call to a relative or friend to inform them about their arrest.
The Trinamool Congress has denied the entire episode. The party’s Firhad Hakim said there was “no question” of the arrested minister calling Mamata Banerjee as his phone was with the Enforcement Directorate.
Mr Chatterjee, who was Education Minister of Bengal, was arrested on Saturday on money-laundering charges linked to a school jobs scam.
He was accused of a role in alleged wrongdoing in the appointment of schoolteachers and teaching staff by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education in government-sponsored and aided schools.
Around ₹ 20 crore in cash was later found from the house of a close aide of Mr Chatterjee, Arpita Mukherjee.
Mr Chatterjee was hospitalised soon after he was sent to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody as he complained of uneasiness. The Enforcement Directorate approached the court saying he should be moved out of the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata, where he was known to assert his influence as a powerful minister.
Following the Calcutta High Court’s order to take him to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, Mr Chatterjee was flown to Odisha by air ambulance this morning.
The court also asked for him to be produced virtually after being examined by the hospital today.