Observing that Partha Chatterjee is a very influential person, a special PMLA court here on Tuesday rejected a bail prayer of the former West Bengal minister, arrested by the ED for alleged money laundering in connection with illegal appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff in state government-sponsored and aided schools.
Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on July 23 following the recovery of huge amount of cash, jewellery and other documents from the residence of his alleged close associate Arpita Mukherjee, who was also taken into custody in connection with the money for jobs case.
Observing that Chatterjee is “one of the most influential persons”, the special court judge rejected the bail prayer of Chatterjee, who has been in custody since July 23 last year in connection with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case.
Chatterjee’s lawyer prayed for his bail stating that he has been under long period of detention and claimed that search and seizure is complete.
Claiming that evidence in the case is founded on documents and electronic devices seized by the ED, the petitioner’s lawyer submitted before the court that there is no possibility of tampering with that in the event of his release on bail.
Opposing the bail prayer, ED counsel Phiroze Edulji submitted that both Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Partha Chatterjee were born in Bengal, but the difference between them is that while the former is known for development and advancement of modern education system in the state, the latter gained infamy for his alleged role to “destroy the education system of West Bengal.”
It was submitted that during search operations in relation to the case, the ED had recovered and seized documents relating to appointment of primary teachers, Group C and Group D staff in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools.
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He claimed that the former minister is a very influential person and can hamper the ongoing investigation into the alleged money trail involved in the scam if released on bail.
He submitted that Chatterjee was allegedly involved in money laundering by indulging in criminal conspiracy for illegally giving jobs in different cadres of the Education department.
Chatterjee held the Education portfolio between 2014 and 2021 when the irregularities in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in state government-sponsored and aided schools is alleged to have taken place.
He was relieved of his ministerial duties by the Mamata Banerjee government following his arrest by the ED.
Chatterjee held several portfolios including Parliamentary Affairs, Industry and Commerce when he was arrested.
The Trinamool Congress also removed him from all posts he held in the party, including that of its secretary general.