West Bengal's School Recruitment Scam: After 12-hour Questioning, ED Arrests Close Aide Of Abhishek Banerjee
Kolkata businessman Sujoy Krishna Bhadra, a close associate of Abhishek Banerjee from the Trinamool Congress, has been arrested by the ED on Tuesday following a 12-hour interrogation regarding the West Bengal school jobs scam.
Bhadra was apprehended by ED officials for his non-cooperation with the investigation and evading their queries.
The agency discovered his connections with three companies suspected of laundering crores of rupees. Further, documents were seized by ED officials during searches conducted at his residence.
Bhadra's lawyer, Najmul Alam Sarkar, stated: “They (ED officials) are not communicating with us. I kept waiting for long outside the agency’s office but I wasn’t allowed in,” reports The Indian Express.
Bhadra appeared in person at the agency's office in CGO Complex, Salt Lake, at 11am on Tuesday. It was his first appearance before the ED investigators, despite being summoned for questioning before.
The CBI has also summoned him twice.
On 20 May, the ED searched the flat and office of a businessman in Behala followed by a prior search by the CBI on 4 May. The businessman had already appeared once before the CBI in March but didn't show up for the second summons and sent his lawyer instead.
Abhishek Banerjee was first named in the recruitment scam by Tapas Mondal, one of the arrested agents allegedly involved in the scam.
Banerjee's mother is reportedly a director in a company named Bhadra, which is said to be run by an employee of Banerjee's office.
The TMC leader supposedly has a stake in Leaps & Bounds Private Limited, a packaged mineral drinking water manufacturer.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating corruption and has contacted state departments for information. The letters have been sent to the departments of Public Works, and Urban Development, and the Municipal Service Commission.
The agency has enquired about the process under which recruitments have been made in the last eight years. The ED also wanted to know as how many people have been employed in these years.
Bhadra, aka Kalighat er Kaku, (uncle from Kalighat) had earlier alleged that he was a victim of a politically motivated investigation, as per the report.
In 2011, he ran as an independent candidate in the Bhowanipore by-election against Mamata Banerjee, receiving 809 votes.
Bengal's Leader of Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, tweeted attacking TMC leadership after Bhadra's arrest and said: “The long arm of law is finally reaching towards the masterminds & the biggest beneficiaries. No one will be spared. The high and mighty will go to jail. Time is ticking.” He shared images claiming Bhadra’s links with Abhishek Banerjee.
According to the report, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, West Bengal Congress chief and Lok Sabha MP, said, ”This is so funny that they are finding a link between Bayron Biswas and the ED probe. The TMC is a corrupt party. Technically speaking, Biswas is still a Congress MLA.”
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