KOLKATA: Referring to former minister and party’s secretary general Partha Chatterjee’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged school recruitment scam, Bengal minister Firhad Hakim on Wednesday said "what Chatterjee did was a shame and the Trinamool Congress will not tolerate it."
Hakim made the statement in the backdrop of the Calcutta High Court’s direction asking the ED to be a party in a PIL about the assets and property details of 19 top TMC leaders, including seven sitting ministers in West Bengal.
Hakim said the leaders and former ministers of Left Front’s regime and Congress functionaries were also mentioned in the list under the high court’s scanner.
"What Chatterjee did was a shame. Our party will not tolerate it. His acts doe prove that everyone in the TMC is a thief," said Hakim in a press conference with four ministers beside him including Education Minister Bratya Basu.
Hakim alleged that the opposition parties are trying to defame the ruling TMC with a narrative that everyone in the party is corrupt.
Chatterjee, presently in jail, was arrested with his close aide Arpita Mukherjee and the ED recovered cash Rs 49.8 crore from her two apartments along with gold jewellery and foreign currency.
Meanwhile, the CBI arrested two former officials of the School Service Commission (SSC) who were allegedly involved in the scam. The central agency said the duo, former officials of the SSC, were arrested for supressing facts and misleading investigators.
The two accused — former convenor of an advisory committee of the SSC Santiprasad Sinha and former chairman of the commission Ashok Saha — were arrested after prolonged interrogation on Wednesday.
The two suspects allegedly had recommended names for many candidates and ensured job as group C and group D staff in schools for them depriving deserving candidates. The CBI also interrogated Chatterjee, who was also former education minister of Bengal, in connection with the alleged scam.
Sinha and Saha were the first arrests made by the CBI in the alleged scam case. The arrests of two suspects is said to be significant in the backdrop of Chatterjee’s arrest by the ED. "The CBI is likely to accuse Chatterjee in its cases. There are enough evidences that can link the former education minister with the alleged scam," said a CBI official.
CPI(M) MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said Sinha and Saha had followed the orders given to them blindly. "There other big players behind the scam. The investigating agency should identify the masterminds behind the scam and take lawful action against them," he said.
TMC vice-president Jayprakash Mjumdar said the accused duo has no link with the party.