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ED arrested Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharjee


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Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate probing the money trails in the West Bengal education scandal on Tuesday arrested state ruling Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya, accused of his involvement in the alleged irregular appointment of the teaching staff in the primary section.

Palashipara legislator in Nadia district Manik Bhattacharya, who was the president of West Bengal Primary Education Board, was formally arrested after about 12 hours of questioning by the ED at its CGO Complex in Salt Lake, official sources said.

He was grilled from 1 PM on Monday in the ED office and was formally arrested 1 am on Tuesday for his alleged non-cooperation with the investigation officials, sources added.

The ED, probing the money trails in the SSC scam following a Calcutta High court directive, on July 23 had arrested former education minister Partha Chatterjee and his alleged close aide Arpita Mukherjee in the same case. The ED also recovered about Rs 49 crore cash from the two flats of Mukherjee.

The two were now lodged in jail following court orders.

A retired judge’s report had described Chatterjee, the mastermind of the SSC scam and Manik Bhatacharya was the kinping of the scandal, in which thousands and thousands crore of rupees changed hands in the illegal and incompement teachers appointments.

The report by a panel of retired Justice Ranjit Bag – constituted by the Calcutta High Court – that first named former West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee in connection with a recruitment scam through the School Service Commission (SSC), in which the former education minister approved an “illegal” committee, the members of which were his close associates.

The report highlighted that the constitution of the committee approved by Partha Chatterjee, who was then state education minister, to supervise and guide the central commission of SSC was “invalid in the eyes of law.”

The report added that “persons who are the members of the supervisory committee are connected with the school education department and closely connected with Partha Chatterjee.

Sources in the ED said Manik Bhattacharya would be produced before a special for judicial process later on Tuesday.

He was the former chairman of the state primary education board and was removed from his post by the Calcutta High Court in June. He is the second high-profile TMC MLA to be arrested after Partha Chatterjee in connection with the teachers’ recruitment scam.

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