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ED arrests Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee over teacher recruitment scam

West Bengal minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday after being questioned for around 26 hours in connection with an alleged scam in recruitment of teachers in state-run schools.

Chatterjee, being taken to the ED’s office at the CGO Complex in Salt Lake, will be produced in court later in the day. ED officials, who grilled Chatterjee overnight in connection with the case, had started the interrogation at his residence at 8am on Friday.

“He was not cooperating with our officers who were questioning him since Friday morning. He will be produced before a court during the day,” an ED official told PTI.

Agency officials had recovered ₹20 crore in cash from one of the properties of Chatterjee’s close associate Arpita Mukherjee in south Kolkata. Mukherjee was also reportedly detained.

Chatterjee was the state education minister when the scam took place and the ED was probing the money laundering aspect based on an FIR by the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) that was filed following orders of the Calcutta high court to investigate the alleged scam in the recruitment of group ‘C’ and ‘D’ staff, assistant teachers of classes 11 and 12 and primary teachers.

In a statement, the ED said the seized cash was suspected to be the proceeds of crime in the school service commission case, adding that the search team sought help from bank officials to count the seized cash using machines.

More than 20 mobile phones were also seized from Mukherjee’s premises, the purpose and use of which is being ascertained, the statement said.

Among others whose properties were raided as part of the investigation included Manik Bhattacharya, TMC MLA and former president of the state board for primary education, board secretary Ratna Chakraborty Bagchi, former advisor of the School Service Commission SP Sinha and West Bengal Board of Secondary Education president Kalyanmoy Ganguly.

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