There were indications since Saturday morning that the Trinamool Congress leadership will distance itself from state Commerce and Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee over the latter’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the multi-crore financial scam relating to the recruitment irregularities in the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC).
And on Saturday evening, the party’s stand became official after Trinamool leaders at a press conference announced that the onus of the developments lies with Chatterjee only, and not on the party.
The party leaders also made it clear that if he is found guilty of involvement in the scam, Trinamool will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against Chatterjee, who is presently the party’s Secretary General.
The press conference was preceded by an emergency meeting convened by Trinamool’s national General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee to decide on the party’s stand on the latest developments involving Chatterjee.
State Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattachrya, Transport Minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim, Power Minister Arup Biswas and party spokesman Kunal Ghosh were present at the press meet.
“Some cash has been recovered from the residence of a lady, who has no connection with Trinamool Congress. We condemn attempts by the opposition parties to link Trinamool Congress with this issue. Partha Chatterjee has been arrested by the ED in this connection.
“All I can say is that the Trinamool leadership has full faith in the judicial system. If Partha Chatterjee is proved guilty at the end of the investigation, Trinamool will not hesitate to take disciplinary actions against him,” said Kunal Ghosh.
The next to take questions from the media was Firhad Hakim, but there was no effort on his part as well to defend Chatterjee or claim that his arrest was a result of political vendetta.
Instead, Hakim said that probably Chatterjee had to meet this fate because he stayed back in Trinamool Congress instead of joining the BJP.
“Had he joined the BJP, he could have come out cleansed from the washing machine,” he said.
However, the opposition BJP said that Trinamool’s attempt to distance itself from Chatterjee is meant to shield Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and his nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
“What has been revealed is just the tip of the iceberg. Now it is the turn for others to be booked,” said BJP’s national Vice President and MP Dilip Ghosh.