Kolkata: Arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was dropped from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet, suspended from Trinamool Congress and stripped of all party posts, marking a swift fall from grace since the Enforcement Directorate took him into custody last weekend. Chatterjee, who was Trinamool secretary general, had been with the party for 24 years and by Mamata's side for four decades.
Each of the four portfolios that Chatterjee held - he was minister of industry, commerce and enterprises; IT and electronics; parliamentary affairs; and public enterprises and industrial reconstruction - will now be under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Besides being TMC secretary general, he was a member of the party's national working committee, editor of the mouthpiece "Jago Bangla", the national senior vice-president and a member of the disciplinary committee. Chatterjee’s nameplates outside his offices were removed.
“From today, for the next few days - until there is a cabinet reshuffle - I will hold charge of the industry and commerce department, along with all other departments that were with Partha Chatterjee,” Mamata said.
Till a cabinet decided Chatterjee's fate, Trinamool had maintained a measured response to ED arresting him and seizing £2.19 million and £2.79 million from two apartments belonging to his "close aide" Arpita Mukherjee. After the first raid, the party had said it would go by the "judicially accepted court evidence". Mamata had said in the last couple of days that neither her government nor her party would show any leniency to anyone found guilty in a court of law as far as the irregularities in primary school recruitment were concerned.
The formal notification from chief secretary about the cabinet decisions came less than an hour after the CM left Nabanna, the state secretariat.