Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Jyotipriya Mallick has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate after more than 20-hour long raid at his Salt Lake City, Kolkata home, in connection with an alleged case of corruption in the public ration distribution system.
Mr Mallick will be produced before a court today.
After his arrest, while he was being taken to the Enforcement Directorate office in Kolkata, the minister repeatedly blamed Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari for his arrest.
‘I am a victim of a political conspiracy. Till the time the BJP is in power, such things will happen,’ Mr Mallick told reporters.
Mr Mallick is the MLA from the Habra constituency and currently serves as the Minister for Environment and Forests. He had earlier served as the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies.
On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had slammed the probe agency’s action against him.
‘Balu (Mallick) has blood sugar. He is ill. If he dies, we will have to file an FIR against the BJP and the Enforcement Directorate,’ Ms Banerjee said.
‘Every day they are disturbing my minister’s house, their wives, their family members. Forget my family members, even puja time also they are not spared. Same thing they are asking. Send the papers from 42 years ago. But Abhishek was not even born at that time, he was born in 1987. They want 42-year-old papers. Is it the malafide intention or not? If there is an election in Rajasthan, fight politically,’ she added.
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar backed the actions of the Enforcement Directorate and said the agency was going after corruption and blamed the Trinamool Congress for corruption.
The Enforcement Directorate is investigating an alleged ration distribution scam where it alleges that rations meant for the public distribution system (PDS) was siphoned off and sold in the open market. The Enforcement Directorate had earlier arrested a businessman, Bakibur Rahman in connection with its probe into these allegations.
Mallick is the second senior minister in the TMC to be arrested, after Partha Chatterjee, who was arrested in connection with the alleged teachers’ recruitment scam.
The arrest is yet another setback to the TMC, which has seen several top ministers like Firhad Hakim, Rathin Ghosh also being raided by central agencies in different cases.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius