As the cash mountain found at the flats of a close aide of Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee grows higher, a Trinamool Congress spokesperson has said the senior leader has brought "shame and disgrace to all of us".
Party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh's remarks came against the backdrop of huge recoveries by the Enforcement Directorate at the Kolkata homes of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of Mr Chatterjee. The minister, also the national general secretary of the Trinamool, has been arrested for alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teachers under the School Service Commission.
A total of Rs 50 crore in cash has been found at the two flats of Ms Mukherjee, besides about 5 kg gold and a huge amount of foreign exchange.
"This development is a matter of great concern. Such incidents have brought disgrace to the party and shame to all of us. He (Partha Chatterjee) is saying why he would quit as minister. Why is he not saying in the public domain that he is innocent? What is stopping him from doing that?" said party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.
"He (Chatterjee) holds several portfolios as a cabinet minister. How he will shed the tag of being an influential person is for him to answer," Mr Ghosh said.
The Trinamool spokesperson tweeted that Mr Chatterjee should be removed as a minister and expelled from the party. He later deleted the tweet and said that he had expressed his personal opinion and that the party has now taken up the issue. "In my earlier tweet, I had expressed my opinion. Now, the party has taken up the issue. Avishek Banerjee has convened party meeting today 5pm at TMC bhawan. I have been told to attend that meeting also. So, as @AITCofficial has taken up the matter, I am deleting the personal one," the new tweet said.
In my earlier tweet, I had expressed my opinion.— Kunal Ghosh (@KunalGhoshAgain) July 28, 2022
Now, the party has taken up the issue.
Avishek Banerjee has convened party meeting today 5pm at TMC bhawan. I have been told to attend that meeting also.
So, as @AITCofficial has taken up the matter, I am deleting the personal one.
Mr Chatterjee is the minister for commerce and industry, parliamentary affairs, information technology and electronics, public enterprises and industrial reconstruction. The ED has described him in the Calcutta High Court as an "influential person".
Mr Ghosh's latest remarks hint at a change in Trinamool's stance on its minister.
Shortly after Mr Chatterjee's arrest on Saturday, Mr Ghosh had told the media that the party would not remove him as a cabinet minister or the secretary general of the Trinamool until he was proven guilty.
The Trinamool mouthpiece, "Jago Bangla", has now stopped naming Mr Chatterjee as a minister or the party's general secretary. However, his name remains in the printer's line as editor of the mouthpiece.
The CBI, as per directions of the Calcutta High Court, is looking into the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teachers in Bengal's government-sponsored and aided schools. The Enforcement Directorate is tracking the money trail in the scam.
Mr Chatterjee was the education minister when the alleged irregularities took place.