Kolkata: Former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday prayed for bail before a special CBI court in a case in connection with the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in state government-aided and sponsored schools.
Opposing his bail prayer, the CBI prayed for an extension of his judicial remand. The special CBI court judge, after hearing arguments of both sides, reserved the order on the prayers. The court had on earlier occasions rejected bail prayers of the former minister.
Chatterjee, first arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on July 23 following recovery of a huge amount of cash, jewellery and property deeds from his alleged close associate Arpita Mukherjee's flats, was taken into custody by the CBI on September 16 on the basis of a court order.
Chatterjee, who was suspended by the Trinamool Congress following his arrest, was produced before the special CBI court by the agency on Monday. Praying for his bail, Chatterjee's lawyers submitted that he had not given any instruction to a committee which had been set up in 2019 to supervise, monitor and guide the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) in connection with pending recruitments as alleged.
The recruitments were made on the recommendation of the SSC. The CBI counsel opposed Chatterjee's bail prayer, stating that he is an influential person and releasing him at this point may affect the ongoing probe in the case. Chatterjee held the education portfolio between 2014 and 2021 when irregularities in recruitment were alleged to have taken place.
He was relieved of his ministerial duties by the Mamata Banerjee government following his arrest by the ED. He held several portfolios including Parliamentary Affairs, Industry and Commerce when he was arrested. The Trinamool Congress also removed him from all posts he held in the party, including that of its secretary general.