Other States

Mamata denies any knowledge of the SSC recruitment scam

TMC party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File

TMC party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Two days after the arrest of the State’s Industries and Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee in the School Service Commission recruitment scam, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on July 25 broke her silence and said that there had been attempts to malign her.

“If someone is a thief, then Trinamool Congress (TMC) does not care about that person. I have had my own [party] boys arrested. I have not spared my own MLAs, MPs and Minister if they do something wrong. But if you try to besmirch my name, then remember I too carry coal tar,” the Chief Minister said.

Ms. Banerjee, while speaking at an event where the West Bengal Government bestowed State honours on eminent people, said that her government had never indulged in any wrongdoing knowingly and the investigation should be completed in a time-bound manner.

“You can do whatever you want against the person who has committed a crime. I don’t care. But don’t try to touch me. If you touch me, I know how to fight you… We will be the winner ultimately,” the TMC chairperson said.

Ms. Banerjee said that a “wounded lion is dangerous”, and warned the Opposition to not “play with fire.”

Partha Chatterjee was arrested on July 24 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the recruitment scam. The ED has seized cash and jewellery valued at ₹21 crore from the house of Arpita Mukherjee, one of Mr. Chatterjee’s close associates.

The Trinamool Congress has not defended Mr. Chatterjee, who is secretary general of the party, but has demanded a time-bound inquiry in the scam. 

The Chief Minister, while referring to the money seizure, asked, “Some money was recovered from the house of a woman. Let the truth come out. But why was my picture being shown in connection with the money that was recovered?”

She added that she had no idea about the scam. 

The Chief Minister also raised questions on the role of media. “I have faith in the judiciary even though I know how much influence the BJP has on the judiciary. The entire media has been bought over by the BJP,” she said.

Both the Minister and his associate are in the ED’s custody. On July 24, the Calcutta High Court directed that Mr. Chatterjee, who got admitted to the State-run SSKM Hospital, be flown to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Bhubaneswar for medical tests. The medical reports were produced before a court in Kolkata. Authorities at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar said that the Minister was fit and did not need hospitalisation.

A Court in Kolkata extends West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee’s custody with Enforcement Directorate till August 3. Custody of the Minister’s associate Arpita Mukherjee with the Enforcement Directorate was also extended to August 3.

Meanwhile, the Minister was virtually produced before a PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering) court in Kolkata, which reserved its order on his custody.

Reacting to the Chief Minister’s comments, the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Suvendu Adhikari said that while trying to disassociate herself from Mr. Chatterjee, Ms. Banerjee had also exposed her government’s way of functioning when she had said one has to give jobs to one’s own people.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) State Secretary Md Salim said all the officials of the State Education Department had been selected by the Chief Minister and now she was saying that she had been unaware of everything.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2022 9:11:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/must-be-punished-if-found-guilty-mamata-banerjee-after-bengal-ministers-arrest-in-ssc-scam/article65682285.ece