Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, arrested in connection with the school jobs scam, should be taken to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in Odisha's Bhubaneswar tomorrow by air ambulance, the Calcutta High Court has said. The court also remarked that given his "immense power and position" as the senior-most cabinet minister, it will not be difficult for Mr Chatterjee to "evade interrogation," the judge remarked.
Partha Chatterjee was arrested on Saturday by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged money laundering case linked to the teacher recruitment scam. The arrest came after Rs 20 crore was recovered from his aide Arpita Mukherjee, who has also been arrested.
Mr Chatterjee was remanded in ED custody for two days. His lawyers later claimed that he was unwell. The 69-year-old, who has several health issues, complained of uneasiness, sources said.
After he was admitted to the ICCU of the state-run SSKM Hospital, the Enforcement Directorate went to court, which allowed Mr Chatterjee to be admitted in the SSKM Hospital. The agency then challenged the order in high court.
In his judgment today, Justice Bibek Chaudhuri said: "Under such background and considering the fact that the accused is the senior-most cabinet minister in the state of West Bengal, having immense power and position, it would not be impossible for the accused with the aid of other political executives to take shelter under the garb of serious illness and medical treatment to evade interrogation. If this happens, the Lady Justice will be cursed by the tears of hundreds and thousands of deserving candidates whose future was sacrificed in lieu of money."
"The investigating agency is directed to take the accused by air ambulance to AIIMS, Bhubaneswar in the early morning on 25th July, 2022," the judge ordered.
A team of specialists – from the departments of cardiology, nephrology, respiratory medicines and endocrinology -- will examine Mr Chatterjee. Their reports will be tallied with the reports of SSKM hospital, the court said.
On Monday, the minister should be produced before a special ED court in Kolkata through virtual mode at 4 pm.