Trinamool MLA arrested in Bangladesh job scam, second after ex-minister – Flying Journals


MLA stands for Palashipara parliamentary constituency. (document)


Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya was arrested this morning after being questioned by the Enforcement Bureau over an alleged teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal state overnight. He is the second Trinamool leader to be caught in the scam. The first is former Bangladeshi minister Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested in July after recovering large amounts of cash from properties linked to his close aide Arpita Mukherjee.

The Law Enforcement Directorate, or ED, which is investigating the tracing of funds in the case, alleges that the fired minister’s WhatsApp chats contained conversations about Mr. Bhattacharya’s involvement in accepting bribes.

The MLA, representing the Palashipara parliamentary constituency, will undergo a medical examination and appear in court later today.

Mr Bhattacharya’s arrest comes weeks after the Supreme Court extended the temporary protection granted him in the case to a further order. When the court issued its order on September 30, it had directed him to cooperate with the investigating agency.

Manik Bhattacharya was removed as chairman of the Bangladesh Primary Education Board after Mr Chatterjee was arrested by the party after the ED recovered cash from Ms Arpita Mukherjee’s home after Mr Chatterjee’s arrest by the party.

The ED alleges that Mr Chatterjee and Ms Mukherjee, on the advice of the School Services Commission (SSC), were involved in a criminal conspiracy to illegally provide teaching jobs in state-funded and funded schools, thereby laundering money and generating substantial criminal proceeds. The alleged breach occurred during Chatterjee’s tenure as education minister.

After his arrest, his investment portfolio was stripped. He was also suspended by the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI named 16 accused, including Partha Chatterjee and former SSC adviser Shanti Prasad Sinha. The investigating agency, at the direction of the Kolkata High Court, is investigating alleged irregularities in teacher recruitment.

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