Kolkata: West Bengal Food and Supplies Minister Rathin Ghosh on Saturday led a protest march of the TMC youth wing in North 24 Parganas district, opposing the arrest of his cabinet colleague Jyotipriyo Mallick in connection with an alleged ration scam.
Mallick, who has been remanded to Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody till November 5 by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court here, is being treated at a private hospital on orders of the judge, after he fell ill in the courtroom on Friday.
“ED and CBI raids are being conducted to scuttle agitations led by our leader Abhishek Banerjee (TMC national general secretary) to demand release of pending MGNREGA funds,” Ghosh claimed.
Mallick, 66, who held the food and supplies portfolio from 2011 to 2021, is at present the state’s forest minister. He was arrested early on Friday by the probe agency in a money laundering case linked to the alleged multi-crore ration distribution scam.
His arrest is the second instance of a cabinet minister of TMC being apprehended by central agencies in connection with corruption cases. In 2022, former state minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the ED in a case related to a school jobs scam.
Ghosh, while leading the protest march of hundreds of Trinamool Congress youth wing members, asserted that raids and arrests will not be able to stop the agitations to get people’s dues.
Mallick is a popular leader in the North 24 Parganas district.
The ED had searched Mallick’s residences on Thursday, and raided his ancestral house on Amherst Street in central Kolkata. The alleged scam pertains to reported irregularities in the public distribution system and also in the distribution of food grains during the Covid lockdowns.
(Published 28 October 2023, 09:36 IST)