Partha Chatterjee should be expelled, removed as minister, says Trinamool spokesperson; removes “personal” tweet later

Concrete action by party is essential, feel some within Trinamool Congress.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh today demanded removal of arrested West Bengal Commerce and Industries and Information Technology minister Partha Chatterjee, who is also the party’s general secretary. Later though, he removed the tweet and wrote a new one.

In the earlier tweet this morning, Ghosh wrote: “Partha Chatterjee should be removed from ministry and all party posts immediately. He should be expelled. If this statement [is] considered wrong, party has every right to remove me from all posts. I shall continue as a soldier of @AITCofficial”. This was being seen as a certain form of “pressure” from a section of the Trinamool Congress to take stern action against the minister who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on July 23. Over Rs 50 crore in cash and gold jewellery and slabs, apart from silver coins were recovered by the Central probe agency from two flats of Chatterjee’s close aide Arpita Mukherjee. The ED, after the first raid at her Tollygunge flat, where Rs 21 crore was found, issued a statement saying that it is suspected proceeds from the School Service Commission (SSC) scam.

Following the huge amount of cash and gold found from the minister’s aide, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has said publicly that she does not support corruption and will not back anyone if proved guilty. However, she also raised questions on the timing of the ED raids and alleged that there were attempts to topple the state government in the lines of Maharashtra. She said the truth must be out within a short time frame and if proved guilty, she is not going to support “anybody”. However, the party has not taken any “action” against Chatterjee like removing him from any position in the government or within the party.

Chatterjee himself did not appear keen to give up his position as minister. During his medical tests, when the minister was taken out of the ED’s office at Salt Lake CGO complex, he had said, answering a question, why he should give up being a minister.

However, there seems to be a strong demand from within the Trinamool Congress that more stern action against the minister is required to indicate that the party does not approve of any kind of corruption. Yesterday, as bundles of cash were being found and counted and were shown on news channels, Kunal Ghosh had said: “It is shameful and a matter of great concern. I will not attempt to downplay it nor say it is acceptable. It is totally uncalled for. It’s a picture of shame.”

A few hours later, Ghosh deleted his earlier tweet and wrote: “In my earlier tweet, I had expressed my opinion. Now, the party has taken up the issue. Avishek Banerjee has convened a party meeting today at 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.”

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