ED arrests Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee

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Kolkata: After over 24 hours of marathon grilling, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials probing the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam, finally arrested state minister and the Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee on Saturday morning.

A decision to this effect was taken after Chatterjee went into a total non-cooperation mode following the recovery of Rs 20 crore in cash and 20 mobile phones from his close aide Arpita Mukherjee's residence on Friday.

Since then, Chatterjee started ducking questions especially those related to his close links with Arpita Mukherjee. Finally at around 10.15 a.m, after he was grilled for over 24 hours at his residence at Naktala in South Kolkata, he was arrested. Arpita Mukherjee has also been detained for questioning.

Like Chatterjee, Arpita Mukherjee also has started ducking questions on the recovery of cash from her residence, sources said.

Early this morning, the ED sleuths in Kolkata communicated to their higher officials in New Delhi about the non-cooperation from Chatterjee, currently the West Bengal commerce & industries minister. The ED officials in Kolkata also stressed on interrogating him after taking him into custody.

After a green signal from ED headquarters, Chatterjee was arrested and taken by the central agency officials to its office at CGO complex at Salt Lake in the northern outskirts of Kolkata.

Chatterjee's counsel, Anindya Raut confirmed the arrest of his client. "However, the ED officials are yet to communicate to me about the grounds on which Partha Chatterjee has been arrested. They have asked me to reach the ED office at Salt Lake, where they will hand over the detailed arrest- related papers," Raut said.

ED sources said that after being taken to CGO complex, Chatterjee will face another round of grilling by the ED officials, where he will be given the last chance to divulge whatever he knows about the scam or about the huge cash recovery from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee. After that he will be presented at a court.

The Trinamool Congress leadership, till the report was filed, were totally tight- lipped about the arrest of Chatterjee.IANS

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