Tapas Mondal, a close aide of arrested Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya, made some comments while arriving at the Enforcement Directorate office in Kolkata that could put the MLA in more trouble.
He was summoned for questioning over an alleged scam in recruitment of teachers, specifically about offline registration of some candidates who allegedly got jobs in exchange for bribes paid to the ruling party MLA.
When reporters asked him about the ED’s claim in court that money for “offline transactions” — bribe money — reached the MLA via an institute that Mr Mondal runs, he said, “He had sent people from his office. My staff have told me that.” Pressed further, he said, “My staff informed me that the files and money would go from the office.”
“If he is sending people from his office, then it is obvious would go to him,” Mr Mondal added. Asked to clarify who he meant by “him”, he said it was MLA Manik Bhattacharya. On what the money was for, Mr Mondal said, “It was Rs 5,000 for offline…,” as the elevator door closed.
The ED claims that undeserving candidates were hired as teachers in exchange for lakhs of rupees in the place of those who were eligible and had cleared examinations and interviews. The investigation is focusing on a teachers’ training institute that Manik Bhattacharya reportedly used to frequent. This institute belongs to Tapas Mondal, according to ED, and the allegation is that it was used as a front for collecting bribes.
Tapas Mondal, president of the All Bengal Teachers Training Achievers’ Association (ABTTAA), had been asked to appear before ED officials on October 20, but his son said he was in Haridwar at the time. ED officers also searched the Mondals’ house in Barasat in North 24 Parganas for nearly 11 hours recently.
Arriving at the ED office this morning, Tapas Mondal told reporters, “I am here to submit documents. They had asked for certain offline documents and I am here to give them that.”
After arresting former education minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide, actor Arpita Mukherjee, in July this year, the ED arrested Manik Bhattacharya, who is MLA from Palashipara and former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE).
Now with Tapas Mondal’s questioning, the ED is focussing on strengthening its evidence against the MLA.
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