A day after he was relieved from ministership and removed from all party posts, Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee, arrested in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam, alleged that he was a “victim of conspiracy”. Chatterjee told mediapersons to look at the party’s decision when they asked him to name the people who had conspired against him. He was clearly referring to his party’s decision to remove him from all positions.
The former Industry Minister and secretary general of the Trinamool Congress also questioned the timing of the party’s decision to remove him. “The timing was not right. It may influence an impartial investigation,” said Chatterjee. At the same time, he said, the decision of Chief Minister and party supremo Mamata Banerjee was correct; but “time will tell” if the party was right or wrong.
Chatterjee was Minister of Industry, Commerce & Enterprises, Technology & Enterprises, Parliamentary Affairs, and Public Enterprises & Industrial Reconstruction. Apart from being the West Bengal secretary general of Trinamool, he was also National Working Committee member of the party; National vice president; the editor of the party mouthpiece Jago Bangla; and member of the Disciplinary Committee. The alleged irregularities in the SSC recruitments took place when Chatterjee was the State Education Minister between 2014 and 2021.
Reacting to Chatterjee’s claim, Trinamool’s spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said: “Yesterday [July 28] evening the government and the party let their decisions be known. What was now left was this allegation of conspiracy etc. It is generally expected that if someone is a victim of conspiracy, he will protest right from the beginning…. In the past, Partha da had announced the party’s decision regarding many people. Now that he has some time in his hand, let him check out the dates and time [of all his announcements] and find out what was right and what was wrong. In his travel through time he will find many answers.”
It may be recalled that Kunal Ghosh, a former Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP, was arrested by the West Bengal police in 2013 for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Saradha deposit collection scam and was suspended by the party for six years.
The opposition parties did not let go of the opportunity to zero-in on Chatterjee’s allegation. Dilip Ghosh, Lok Sabha MP and national vice president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said: “If there has indeed been a conspiracy, spell it out. So far you have maintained silence. Not once have you said you are innocent; and now you are saying you have been framed. People need to know who has framed you.”
According to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Pradesh Congress president and leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, this is just the tip of the iceberg. “The people of Bengal did not vote for this Trinamool. Didi [Mamata Banerjee] tries to pass herself off as Saradamani, as Rani Rashmoni, but actually she is the rani [queen] of thieves,” said Chowdhury at a press conference.