Partha Chatterjee retorts sharply to questions about his resignation


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KOLKATA: Senior Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, who is in the custody of Enforcement Directorate in connection with the teachers recruitment scam, on Wednesday countered repeated queries by the media on whether he would resign in view of his arrest by retorting why he should do so.
He was approached by the media outside the ESI hospital at Joka in the city where he was taken on Wednesday morning along with his associate Arpita Mukherjee for a regular medical check up before being interrogated by the ED, which is probing the money trail in the scam that has rocked the state.
Chatterjee was taken to the medical facility amidst tight security and whisked away about two hours later to the ED office at the CGO complex in Salt Lake area.
To repeated questions by reporters on whether he is considering resigning from the post of a minister, a visibly irritated Chatterjee shot back “What is the reason (to tender the resignation)?”
ED sleuths started conducting raids in different locations related to arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee’s close associate Arpita Mukherjee on Wednesday in connection with the ongoing probe into irregularities in the employment in schools, an official in the central agency said.
Raids are underway at a few places including Rajdanga and Belghoria where three properties belonging to Arpita was found, he added.
“We have found a couple of flats belonging to Arpita at Belghoria (in the northern part of the city) and another one at Rajdanga (in the southern part) where she has an office. Our officers are conducting searches there,” he said.
The ED sleuths are trying to open the main door of one of her two flats in Belghoria, keys to which could not be found, the official added.
Asked about the grilling of the minister and his associate, the official said that though Mukherjee has been “cooperative throughout”, the former Bengal education minister was “noncooperative”.
Chatterjee is now the parliamentary affairs minister.
“We are finding grilling Mr Chatterjee quite difficult. He has been very stubborn and noncooperative with our officers. He is not replying to our questions,” the official said. Chatterjee was discharged from the hospital after about two hours of medical tests and was taken back to the ED office at the CGO complex in Salt Lake.
He is likely to be questioned along with Arpita and Manik Bhattacharya, the TMC MLA and former president of West Bengal Board of Primary Education, the official said. The ED had arrested Chatterjee, who is also TMC secretary general, on Saturday in connection with its investigation into the irregularities in the recruitment of teachers by the School Service Commission.

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