A day after being stripped of party and ministerial duties, arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee on Friday claimed he was a victim of a conspiracy.
The ruling Trinamool Congress, however, asserted that he alone was responsible for his fate, seemingly shrugging off responsibility for Chatterjee.
The 69-year-old leader, who was held in connection with a school recruitment scam, is presently in the custody of the Enforcement Directorate.
As he deboarded a vehicle after being taken to ESI hospital at Joka on the southern outskirts of the city for a medical check-up during the day, and was approached by reporters, Chatterjee said he was just a "victim of a conspiracy".
Later, while exiting the hospital, he said time will tell if the action taken against him by the TMC was justified.
"This decision (to suspend me) could influence an impartial probe… Only time will tell whether the decision was right or wrong," he said.
About the move to remove him from the ministry, Chatterjee, once considered a close confidante of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, said, "Her (Banerjee's) decision is right."
The TMC leadership, however, took exception to his comments and said Chatterjee was himself responsible for his fate.
"Who will conspire against him? What is he trying to imply? The money was recovered from the flat of his close aide. He himself is responsible for this situation," senior TMC leader Sougata Roy said.
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh, who had been vociferous over the demand to sack Chatterjee, said: "After so many days, he is saying it's a conspiracy. As a citizen of this country, he can always approach the court. Let law take its own course," he said.
Chatterjee, who was the industries and parliamentary affairs minister, had held the education portfolio when the scam was allegedly pulled off.
He was relieved of his duties as minister-in-charge of various departments and suspended from the TMC on Thursday. He was also removed from all party posts.
One of his close aides, Arpita Mukherjee, has also been arrested by the ED after crores of rupees in cash were seized from her residences in parts of the city.
Mukherjee, who was taken to the ESI hospital for check-up in a separate car, was seen breaking down on her arrival at the medical facility.
According to ED sources, the two-faced questioning upon their return from the hospital at the agency's CGO complex.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders have demanded more clarifications over Chatterjee's “conspiracy” allegations.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sujan Chakraborty said Chatterjee should name the people involved in the conspiracy, if there was one.
“Bengal has earned a bad repute due to this school recruitment scam. Career of so many people have been destroyed due to the scam,” Chakraborty said.
In a similar vein, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said he should reveal who all were involved in the conspiracy, as he has claimed to be a victim of some devious plan.
“Chatterjee is not a common man. He was a powerful minister and a senior TMC leader. He should take names of people involved in the conspiracy,” he stated.
TMC MP Shantanu Sen maintained that his party had zero tolerance for corruption.
He also asserted that the ruling camp had no connection with the woman or the cash seized from her residences.
On Thursday evening, ED officials had raided a third apartment linked to Mukherjee in the city's Chinar Park area.
As the flat was locked and the keys could not be traced, ED sleuths broke open its door in the presence of central force officers.
Earlier, a raid was carried out in Mukherjee's Belghoria area flat, where around Rs 28 crore unaccounted cash was apparently found stashed along with large quantities of gold and silver. The central agency had also reportedly seized over Rs 21 crore in cash from another flat belonging to Mukherjee in Tollygunge area.
The CBI, as directed by Calcutta High Court, is probing the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of Group-C and -D staff, as well as teachers in government-sponsored and -aided schools on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission.
The ED is looking into the money trail involved in the scam.