Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Meenakashi Lekhi on Thursday slammed Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal over the corruption charges against former state minister Partha Chatterjee claiming that who used to chant “Maa, Maati, Manush” now only cared for “money, money and money” and questioned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s silence on the issue.
At a press conference, the BJP leader claimed that Chatterjee, who has been arrested in connection with the teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal, owned a luxury flat in Kolkata where he just kept his dogs.
“I want to remind the people that those who used to raise the slogan of ‘Maa, Maati, Manush’ in Bengal, today they only care about ‘Maya Maaya, Maya’ that is ‘money, money, money’. See the documents of Partha Chatterjee or statements of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of the former West Bengal Minister, everything is becoming clear from this. See the countless assets of Arpita, see the documents, about 50 crores cash have been found, besides that 9 kg of gold. Apart from this, their minister’s truth is coming to the fore,” Lekhi said.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recovered approximately Rs 50 crore in cash, besides a huge amount of gold jewellery from residences linked to Chatterjee’s aide Arpita Mukherjee.
“The name of Monalisa Das, another acquaintance of Partha Chatterjee, is coming to the fore. (She) was admitted to a university in 2014, is today a professor there and the head of the department of Bengali. She has 10 flats in her name. One of them is a super luxury flat where Partha Chatterjee only keeps his pet dogs. Mamata Banerjee, who is the Chief Minister of the state is silent over the scam,” said Lekhi.
Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) scam in West Bengal on July 23.
The arrest of Partha Chatterjee followed Rs 21 crore in cash and jewellery worth above Rs 1 crore being recovered from the Kolkata residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of the former education minister.
“Two of Arpita Mukherjee’s statements have come. She said Partha Chatterjee turned her house into an ATM and the money was being distributed from top to bottom. It is understood who is the lower one, but who is the upper one. This should also be investigated. Arpita Mukherjee’s statement is also very important,” the BJP leader added.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress on Thursday suspended Chatterjee from the party leaving it to him to defend himself in the Enforcement Directorate probe into the teacher recruitment scam.
Mamata Banerjee also removed Chatterjee as a minister in the state government. Chatterjee was considered one of the most trusted lieutenants of the Chief Minister, a “go-to” man and was regarded third in the party hierarchy after the chief minister and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
“There will be zero tolerance for corruption. Investigating agency must complete the probe within the time limit. Even in Sarada’s case nothing happened, it’s just lingering. There should be a time-bound investigation,” Abhishek Banerjee said.
Lekhi also took a dig at Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, who is also in ED custody in connection with the money laundering case. “Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, from whom Rs 4.5 crores were recovered and some properties have been found a month before the arrest, the ED also attached one of his properties,” she said.
She also cited the order of the Delhi High Court in the Satyendar Jain case and said that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is still silent even after the Delhi High Court’s guidance to the Chief Ministers to control corruption.
The Union Minister said, “On July 27, the Division Bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad of Delhi High Court said the Council of Ministers has a collective responsibility to sustain and uphold the integrity of the Constitution of India, and it is for the chief minister to act in the best interest of the state and consider whether a person who has a criminal background or has been charged with offences involving moral turpitude should be appointed and should be allowed to continue as a minister or not.”
Referring to the court’s observation, Lekhi said the court pointed out that Dr BR Ambedkar when he was writing the constitution, said that good governance is only in the hands of good people. Even though the Court cannot sit in judgment of what is good or bad, it certainly can remind constitutional functionaries to preserve, protect and promote the ethos of the Constitution. There is a presumption that the Chief Minister would be well advised and guided by such constitutional principles, she said.