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‘Guilty must be punished, but media trials unacceptable’: Mamata on Bengal school jobs scam

Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi
Jul 27, 2022 05:03 PM IST

Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said opposition leaders along with businessmen were being “threatened by agencies” at the behest of the ruling BJP at the Centre.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday lashed out at the media for playing the role of “kangaroo (court)”, days after her cabinet minister and loyalist Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a teachers' recruitment scam in the state. Slamming the media for launching a “malicious campaign” against her party, the Trinamool Congress chief said she does not have any problem if “agencies function impartially”.

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee addresses the event of Titagarh Wagons on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (ANI Photo)

Addressing a programme of Titagarh Wagon, the West Bengal chief minister denounced media trials in the scam. She, however, reiterated that anyone proven guilty by the court must be punished.

“When you run a big institution, there can be mistakes. If anyone has committed any mistake, and it is proven legally, he or she must be punished. But I am against any malicious media campaign. The media is playing the role of kangaroo (court). A senior judge also said that recently,” she said.

Also Read | The ‘rise and fall’ of Partha Chatterjee, Mamata Banerjee’s trusted loyalist

Banerjee said opposition leaders and even businessmen were being “threatened by agencies” at the demand of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre.

The TMC supremo also took a swipe at the BJP for the recent Maharashtra political crisis, saying that the BJP has no work but to topple state governments through three to four agencies. “They've taken Maharashtra, now Jharkhand but Bengal has defeated them. It's not easy to break Bengal as you have to fight the Royal Bengal Tiger first,” she told the gathering.

The chief minister added that it is her belief the BJP will not return to power in 2024. “I can talk about the numbers and where they will be coming from,” Banerjee said.

Chatterjee and his close associate Arpita Mukherjee were arrested on July 23 morning after the ED raided their residences and interrogated them for hours. The officials seized 21 crore cash from Mukherjee's flat, gold worth over 70 lakh. From Chatterjee's house, they recovered at least 13 deeds, some of which were connected with Mukherjee.

Also Read | From cash and gold to deeds, admit cards and diaries – what the ED found in Partha and Arpita’s closets

Chatterjee, meanwhile, on Monday was shifted back to Kolkata from Odisha after AIIMS Bhubaneswar where he was directed to be taken by the Calcutta high court for treating his health issues, stating that he does not require hospitalisation.

The duo are currently in ED custody and will be produced before it again on August 3.

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