Jyotipriya Mallick, a West Bengal minister and Trinamool Congress politician, was detained late Thursday night by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the suspected ration fraud.
Mallick’s arrest came a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation searched the minister’s home in Salt Lake, on the outskirts of Kolkata.
“West Bengal minister Jyotipriya Mallick is being arrested by ED in connection with an alleged case of bribery in rationing distribution,” the Enforcement Directorate said in a press statement.
In response to his detention, the minister stated he was the “victim of a grave conspiracy” as he was hauled away by ED sleuths.
The ED has been conducting searches in connection with a suspected instance of ration distribution corruption.
Mallick is the current state minister for Forest Affairs and formerly held the Food and Civil Supplies Ministry.
Following the ED raids, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Centre’s ‘misuse of government agencies’ to ‘unleash vengeance’ and propagate falsehoods against everyone who speaks out against it.
Accusing government agencies of using illegal tactics to ‘obtain identities,’ Banerjee said she would file a FIR against the BJP and the ED if anything happened to Mallick, a diabetic.
The ED detained former West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and his assistant Arpita Mukherjee earlier this year in connection with the teachers’ recruitment fraud, following the seizure of large sums of money from the latter’s apartment.