Partha Chatterjee's arrest brought shame, disgrace to all of us: TMC spokesperson
Fuelling speculations about Partha Chatterjee’s future as a cabinet minister, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh Wednesday hope the party would take note of the public perception as the recovery of cash from his aide’s home has brought “disgrace” to party and “shame to all of us”.
His comments come in the backdrop of the recovery of huge cash from one of the flats linked to Arpita Mukherjee, considered a close associate of arrested West Bengal Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee, late this evening.
The unaccounted money was found five days after the agency seized more than Rs 21 crore in cash, besides jewellery and foreign exchange, from another flat of Mukherjee, who was also arrested on July 23.
“This development is a matter of great concern. Such incidents have brought disgrace to the party and shame to all of us. He (Partha Chatterjee) is saying why he would quit as minister. Why is he not saying in the public domain that he is innocent? What is stopping him from doing that?” “I hope the party would take note of the public perception and take appropriate steps,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Ghosh had said it has to be seen how Chatterjee sheds the tag of being “influential” without quitting as a minister of several departments.
Chatterjee, whom the Enforcement Directorate arrested in connection with a school jobs scam, earlier in the day countered repeated queries by the media on whether he would resign by retorting why he should do so.
Chatterjee, who is now in the ED custody, was approached by reporters outside a hospital where he was taken for a medical check-up before being interrogated by the central agency.
Reacting to his comments, Ghosh said, “He holds several portfolios as a cabinet minister. How he will shed the tag of being an influential person is for him to answer.” Chatterjee is the minister for commerce & industry, parliamentary affairs, information technology and electronics, public enterprises & industrial reconstruction. The ED has described him in the Calcutta High Court as an “influential person”. Hours after Chatterjee’s arrest on July 23, Ghosh had told reporters that the party would not remove him as a cabinet minister or the secretary general of the TMC until he was proven guilty.
BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, while reacting to huge cash recovered for the second day from a flat in Belgharia in North 24 Parganas district, demanded that Chatterjee should be immediately removed from the state cabinet.
“Partha Chatterjee has brought disgrace to himself and the entire state. He must be immediately sacked. This incident proves the level of corruption in the TMC and the state government,” Ghosh said.
Amid the growing opposition demands for the removal of Chatterjee from the cabinet, his official car, used by him for over 15 years, was on Tuesday deposited in the state Assembly.
The TMC’s mouthpiece “Jago Bangla”(Wake up, Bengal) has stopped naming Chatterjee either as a minister or the party’s secretary general. However, his name remains in the printer’s line as its editor.
The CBI, as directed by the Calcutta High Court, is looking into the alleged irregularities committed in the recruitment of Group-C and D staff and teachers in government-sponsored and –aided schools on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission. The ED is tracking the money trail in the scam.
Chatterjee was the education minister when the alleged irregularities took place.