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CBI gets former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee’s custody in school recruitment scam probe

Partha Chatterjee was earlier arrested in connection with irregularities in recruitment to the West Bengal School Service Commission

September 16, 2022 07:29 pm | Updated 07:29 pm IST - Kolkata

Former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee being produced at a court in Kolkata on Friday. The court remanded Mr. Chatterjee to CBI custody till September 21.

Former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee being produced at a court in Kolkata on Friday. The court remanded Mr. Chatterjee to CBI custody till September 21. | Photo Credit: Debasish Bhaduri

A court in Kolkata on Friday rejected the bail application of former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee and remanded him to the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) till September 21. Mr. Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on July 23 in the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam. Since his arrest, the former West Bengal Minister has been under the custody of the ED, and subsequently in judicial custody where ED officials have questioned him for several days.

Earlier this week, the CBI, which is probing the SSC recruitment scam, approached a court seeking the custody of Mr. Chatterjee. The former Minister, who was in-charge of the State Education Department for the past several years, prayed for bail citing ill health. After his arrest, Mr. Chatterjee was stripped of his Ministerial and party responsibilities and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) dumped him.

An advocate appearing for the CBI before the court said that the agency had sought Mr. Chatterjee’s custody for the purpose of investigation as the magnitude of conspiracy was huge. The CBI had registered First Information Reports (FIR) in the SSC recruitment scam at the directions of Calcutta High Court. During the day, the CBI produced former president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education Kalyanmoy Ganguly before a court, which remanded Mr. Ganguly to the agency’s custody till September 21.

At the end of the day, Mr. Chatterjee and Mr. Ganguly were taken by CBI officials to the agency’s office at Kolkata’s Nizam Palace. The CBI in August this year had arrested Santi Prasad Sinha and Ashok Saha, who were part of a five-member committee supervising recruitment by the SSC. The ED has also arrested Arpita Mukherjee, an aide of Mr. Chatterjee, from whose house cash valued at ₹50 crore and jewellery worth ₹4.5 crore was recovered.

So far, five persons have been arrested by the Central investigation agencies in connection with the SSC recruitment scam, which involved giving jobs as teachers and non-teaching staff in State-run schools for monetary and political considerations. The recruitment scam has emerged as a major embarrassment for the TMC government in the State.

During the day, the CBI also searched the residence of Anubrata Mondal, another Trinamool leader arrested in a cross-border cattle smuggling scam. Mr. Mondal was arrested by the CBI on August 31 from his Bolpur residence, which was searched by the agency on Friday.

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