'Am victim of deep conspiracy': West Bengal minister Jyotipriya Mallick after ED arrest

Friday, 27 October 2023 (11:58 IST)
Kolkata: Pointing his fingers at the BJP and Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari for "orchestrating a conspiracy" against him, State Forest Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Jyotipriya Mallick, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on Friday morning from his Salt Lake residence after a marathon grilling of 23 hours in connection with an alleged multi-crore ration distribution scam in the state, said, "I’m a victim of deep conspiracy."
ED arrested Mallick after grilling him since 6 AM on Thursday and finally took him to the CGO Complex around 0323 hrs.
Mallick, currently Bengal Forest Minister and former Food Minister, was arrested on charges of alleged irregularities in the distribution of statuary rations during the pandemic period.
Mallick accused the BJP and Adhikari of "orchestrating a deep conspiracy" for his arrest.
The ED arrested Mallick for non-cooperation in the process of the investigation.
The ED took Mallick to the EDI Hospital at Joka for a health check-up, where a medical board has already been set up since the minister suffers from blood sugar, sources said.
The ED is expected to produce Mallick at the Bankshall Court in the city later on Friday and seek him in its custody.
The ED has appointed Special Prosecutor Firoz Edulji, who appeared during the arrest of State Commerce and former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee in the alleged cash-for-jobs scam last year.
Sources said besides, the raids were conducted simultaneously in two flats of Mallick at Salt Lake (Kolkata) areas, two other flats of Dey at Vivekananda Road ( Nager Bazar in Dum Dum) and another house of Dey at Bhagabati Park, also in Nager Bazar.
Raids were conducted in three other places too.
They said the ED, probing the money trails of the alleged irregularities in the statutory ration distribution system, has information that the arrested businessman Bakibur Rahaman has huge businesses in Bengal, Mumbai and even in Dubai with worth near 100 crores of rupees.
Sources said Bakibur had rapport with minister Mallick when he was the state food supplies minister in the previous Mamata Banerjee government. After the win in the 2021 assembly poll, Mallick was shifted to the Department of Forest Affairs and Non-Conventional and Renewable Energy sources.
Mallick represents Habra assembly segment in the North 24 Parganas.
The ED few months ago had raided the residence of current food minister Rathin Ghosh, also in North 24 Parganas.
On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described the ED raid at State Minister Jyotipriya Mallick's house as the BJP's "abuse of power to muzzle any opposition to their authoritarian rule".
Banerjee said, " ED raid at Jyotipriya Mallick's house proves @BJP4India's abuse of power to muzzle any opposition to their authoritarian rule. "
" Ever asked your supremo's poster boy @himantabiswa on the Assam PPE kit scam? " she asked.
" No wonder corrupt leaders like you join BJP to escape ED raids, " Banerjee stated. (UNI)

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