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Who is Partha Chatterjee, the West Bengal minister arrested by ED in teacher recruitment scam?

Partha Chatterjee, who is the Commerce and Industries Department minister in the TMC government, is considered a close aide of Mamata Banerjee.

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The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday arrested West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee in connection with its investigation into the teacher recruitment scam in the state. He was arrested by the probe agency after being grilled for over 11 hours the previous day. 

Chatterjee, who was the state education minister when the scam took place, was arrested after around 26 hours of grilling in connection with the probe. The arrest came a day after the agency claimed to have seized over Rs 20 crore in cash from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of Chatterjee, who has also been detained. 

Who is Partha Chatterjee?

Partha Chatterjee, who is currently the Commerce and Industries Department minister in the Trinamool Congress government, is considered a close aide of Mamata Banerjee. 

He is also the West Bengal General Secretary of TMC and holds the portfolio of Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Chatterjee has served as the Education minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet from 2014 to 2021.

Chatterjee was elected as an MLA from Behala Paschim on a TMC ticket in 2001 and has been holding the South Kolkata seat ever since then. Before Banerjee-led TMC came to power in 2001, Chatterjee was the Leader of Opposition in the state legislative assembly from 2006 to 2011. 

When Banerjee retained power for a second straight term in 2016, Chatterjee became the Minister-in-Charge of Higher Education and School Education Department, West Bengal Government and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Public Enterprises, Information Technology and Electronics, replaced by Amit Mitra.

Before entering the political arena, Chatterjee worked as an HR professional after completing his MBA from Calcutta University. He is also the chairman of Naktala Udayan Durga Puja Committee in Kolkata, which is famous for its themed pandals and draws lakhs of pandal hoppers in Puja.  

About the teacher recruitment scam

The CBI, as directed by the Calcutta High Court, is looking into the alleged irregularities committed in the recruitment of Group-C and D staff as well as teachers in government-sponsored and aided schools on recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission. The ED is tracking the money trail in the scam.

The high court order came months after allegations of corruption in the recruitment of Group C and Group D employees in secondary and higher secondary schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. 

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