WB Recruitment Scam: Manik Taking Money, ED Chargesheet Claims Partha Was Warned

Kolkata | Updated: 21 September, 2022 2:33 pm IST

In more trouble for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) ministers in West Bengal, the WhatsApp chats between jailed suspended minister and TMC leader Partha Chatterjee and former president of West Bengal Primary Education Board and TMC MLA Manik Bhattacharya have revealed that the latter was taking money for SSC Teachers’ recruitment.

Bhattacharya has been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on several occasions.

The ED, which filed a chargesheet in connection with the recruitment scam, alleged that Chatterjee was warned about the malpractices of Bhattacharya through WhatsApp messages.

The revelations were made in the chargesheet, a copy of which is with The New Indian.

During the questioning of Chatterjee by the ED, who was arrested by the financial probe agency on July 23 this year, he was asked to state about the mobile number used by him in his seized mobile phone having description ‘Mobile Handset being made Galaxy S22 Ultra’ to which he stated that his phone number was 89106***14.

“Chatterjee was asked whether he knew Bhattacharya whose mobile number 9433***878 was saved in his mobile phone (seized by ED during a search operation conducted at Chatterjee’s residential premises on July 22) as ‘Manik Bhatterjee Law’. He was further asked why he had saved Bhattacharya’s phone number as ‘Manik Bhatterjee Law’,” the ED said.

“Chatterjee confirmed and admitted that Bhattacharya was the president of West Bengal Primary Education Board and was currently (then) the Member of West Bengal Legislative Assembly.”

Chatterjee was confronted with his WhatsApp chats with Bhattacharya, recovered from his seized phone. “Chatterjee stated that since the referred mobile was seized by ED, what is written in the name of Bhatterjee Law will depict from the same mobile,” the ED stated.

The ED claimed that Chatterjee further refused to offer any comment in respect of the said WhatsApp chats.

The ED said that Chatterjee was asked how Bhattacharya was related to Interview & TET. What Chatterjee meant by Interview & TET “10 min dis urgent kal bari jabo” (which translates to ‘Tomorrow I will visit (your) home for an urgent 10 minutes discussion regarding interview and TET’ in Bhattacharya’s message over WhatsApp to him on December 28, 2020 at 6.56 pm and in reply, he sent “ok” at 12.05 am on December 29, 2020.

“In response to the question, Chatterjee stated that Bhattacharya was the President of Primary Education Board; Bhattacharya along with his board was accountable for conducting examinations and publication of results under primary education,” the ED claimed.

The ED said that Chatterjee was asked to explain the message “Interview started smoothly all over the state” sent by Bhattacharya to Chatterjee over WhatsApp at 11.39 am on January 10, 2021. Chatterjee was further asked why he sent “Tks” after a few minutes on the same day.

“Chatterjee replied that information was shared with him since he was the minister and he thanked for receiving the information,” the ED said.

“Upon being asked why Partha Chatterjee re forwarded the message ‘Dada Bhattacharya is taking money jaa taa bhabey” (which translates to ‘Dada Bhattcharya is taking money in every possible way’). He has taken Rs 500 per student from every pvt Bed (500+) college during Covid when college were closed. Students could not pay, so many colleges paid themselves. Again he has asked for Rs 500 per student. He harasses colleges and threatens, so they pay up. In Nadia, primary TET interview is complete but he is telling chairman to give blank signed document master sheet without putting interview marks. ‘Abar o takaa niye korbey, abar case hobey. Abar party khasta hobe’. Please eta dekhun. Love’, (He will do the work again by taking money. The case will start again and the party will suffer. Please look into the matter. Love)” which appears to be a complaint filed with Chatterjee against Bhattacharya regarding illegal demand of money and collection of money from Private B. Ed colleges and students by Bhattacharya,” the ED said in the chargesheet on the basis of WhatsApp chat received on Chatterjee mobile phone.

The ED said Chatterjee was asked that what action had he taken on the complaint, being the minister and representative of public and who sent Chatterjee the said message which was further forwarded to the person against whom the complaint was made to him.

“Chatterjee did not reveal the correct facts and only replied that the said message indicated the name of Bhattacharya, therefore, he referred the message to him for action,” the ED said.

The ED further said that upon referring to the above quoted message, Chatterjee was specifically being asked why Bhattacharya was forcing to give a blank signed document master sheet without putting interview marks.

Chatterjee was also asked who were asked by Bhattacharya to give blank signed document master sheets without putting interview marks and whether it was legal or as per the rules and norms in force to ask for blank signed document master sheets without putting interview marks.

“Chatterjee gave an evasive reply by stating that he did not have any idea as it was entirely a matter of the primary board,” the ED said.

When asked what action Chatterjee had taken on Bhattacharya asking the chairman to give blank signed document master sheet without putting interview marks, which appears to be illegal and indicates malpractices of Bhattacharya, the TMC leader again tried to dodge the question by stating that the matter was referred to Bhattacharya as he (Bhattacharya) and his board were in a position to act accordingly, the ED claimed.

The ED had attached properties to the tune of Rs 48.22 crore of Chatterjee, his aide and actor Arpita Mukherjee and of six companies in connection with the case.

The total seizure and attachment  made by the ED in the case till date is over Rs 110 crore.

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