A Kolkata court on Monday sent West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee to the custody of the Enforcement Directorate till August 3, PTI reported in connection to an alleged scam in recruitment of teachers in the state.

The Enforcement Directorate had sought 14-days’ custody of Chatterjee and 13-days custody for Mukherjee.

Chatterjee, who had been admitted to the Bhubaneswar facility of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Monday, was brought back to Kolkata in the early hours of Tuesday, according to ANI.

The minister and his aide were arrested on Saturday in connection with the Enforcement Directorate investigation into the alleged teacher recruitment scam in the state School Service Commission in 2018.

A day before the arrests, the Enforcement Directorate had recovered about Rs 20 crore from Mukherjee’s house.

Chatterjee was produced before a Kolkata court on Saturday and remanded in two-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate, while Mukherjee was sent to one-day custody on Sunday.

Hours after his arrest, Chatterjee was admitted to a state-run hospital in Kolkata after he complained of uneasiness. However, on Monday, he was shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Bhubaneswar after the Enforcement Directorate approached the Kolkata High Court saying that he had faked illness to avoid custody.

The director of AIIMS-Bhubaneswar said on Monday that while the jailed minister suffered from chronic diseases, he did not need to be hospitalised immediately.

“There is nothing wrong with medical reports,” the Enforcement Directorate told the court on Monday. “He was taking advantage of his position to stay in a state-run hospital. He is fit and can be taken into custody.”

Meanwhile, Chatterjee’s lawyer prayed for bail saying that the Calcutta High Court had not passed any order to arrest the minister.

“They went to his house without a summon and continued to interrogate for 30 hours,” the lawyer said. “He was detained by the ED on July 22. Now three days of his custody has already been completed.”

Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate, claimed that the alleged scam was serious as deserving candidates had been deprived of appointments and undeserving candidates were given jobs in lieu of money.

Case against Partha Chatterjee

Chatterjee, a senior Trinamool Congress leader, was arrested on July 23 after almost 24 hours of questioning by officials of the Enforcement Directorate.

The 69-year-old was the state education minister in 2018 when allegedly jobs were given to candidates in return for money instead of deserving candidates who had qualified in the recruitment process.

The Enforcement Directorate, which investigates financial crimes, also arrested Chatterjee’s aide Arpita Mukherjee, a day after the agency said it recovered about Rs 20 crore from her home.

“The said amount is suspected to be proceeds of crime of the SSC scam,” the Enforcement Directorate had said. “More than 20 mobile phones have also been recovered from the premises of Arpita Mukherjee, the purpose and use of which is being ascertained.”

The Enforcement Directorate inquiry was based on a first information report filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. On June 15, the Calcutta High Court had asked the investigation agency to look into alleged irregularities in the recruitment of Group C and Group D staff, assistant teachers of Classes 9 to 12, and primary teachers.

The Trinamool Congress alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was behind the arrest of Chatterjee.