Arrested Trinamool Congress Minister Partha Chatterjee removed from the Cabinet and all party posts
West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee being shifted to AIIMS Bhubaneswar via air ambulance as per an order of the Calcutta High Court, in Kolkata on July 25.
| Photo Credit: PTI
The decision was announced by Abhishek Banerjee, All India general secretary of the party.
Five days after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam, the ruling Trinamool Congress removed him from the Cabinet and all the posts that he held in the party. The decision was announced on July 28, the day the ED recovered more than Rs.28 crore in cash and jewellery reportedly worth over Rs.4 crore from the residence of the actress Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of Partha Chatterjee.
In an earlier raid conducted on July 22, the ED recovered more than Rs.21 crore in cash, jewellery worth Rs.79 lakh, and Rs.54 lakh in foreign currency from another residence of Arpita Mukherjee. So far, the ED has recovered around Rs.50 crore in just six days in connection with the SSC scam.
Partha Chatterjee was not only in charge of key portfolios, including the departments of Industry, Commerce & Enterprises, Technology and Enterprises, Parliamentary Affairs, and Public Enterprises & Industrial Reconstruction; he was also the West Bengal general secretary of the Trinamool Congress; National Working Committee member of the party; National vice president; the editor of the party mouthpiece Jago Bangla; and member of the Disciplinary Committee.
Announcing Chatterjee’s removal from all party posts at a press conference, Abhishek Banerjee, Trinamool All India general secretary and Lok Sabha MP, said: “With all the new information coming to the fore today, the Chief Minister had earlier already removed Partha Chatterjee from his Cabinet posts…. Trinamool Congress’s main and only treasure is the love of the common people .… Our Chief Minister has made it clear that anyone who betrays the trust of the common people, or uses the party platform to further his own ends and constructs a mechanism to make money, the party will not support him in any way.”
Like Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had earlier said that the Trinamool had no connection with Arpita Mukherjee, Abhishek Banerjee also maintained that “the person from whose house the money has been recovered [on July 28] is not connected with the party.”
He also raised questions on the “impartiality” of the Central investigating agencies. He said: “The moment one joins BJP, one becomes innocent; if he stays in Trinamool, he is a thief. Hypothetically speaking, if the same Partha Chatterjee should join the BJP after a year or two or after a month, he will turn into a saint overnight. Today he is with Trinamool, so all these steps are being taken against him. I am not defending anyone, but the way the Central agencies have been functioning over the last eight years, these questions are cropping up in our minds.”
Training his guns at the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, he asked how so much black money could be recovered, particularly after the Prime Minister had promised to end black money in the country in 2016.
He said: “We want to find out how so much black is being recovered. These questions are in the mind of the common people. The Prime Minister had said in 2016 that if after 50 days black money can be found in India, he will accept whatever punishment given.… Narendra Modi is as much responsible [for the black money recovered] as Arpita Mukherjee is. He cannot deny it. What was the point of the demoetisation then? Around 140 people died standing in the lines. After that, how can so much black money suddenly crop up?”