A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at the residence of West Bengal minister and Trinamool Congress leader Jyotipriya Mallick, he was arrested in connection with an alleged multi-crore ration distribution scam in the state. Mallick, who previously held the portfolio of the state’s food ministry in the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government and currently oversees public enterprises, industrial reconstruction, and forest, was taken into custody.
The ED issued a statement confirming the arrest, stating that Jyotipriya Mallick had been arrested in connection with “an alleged case of corruption in ration distribution.” As he was being escorted away by ED officials, Mallick described his arrest as the result of a “grave conspiracy.”
This development has intensified political tensions in the state, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticizing what she perceives as the Centre’s misuse of government agencies to settle scores and spread falsehoods against government critics. Banerjee went on to warn that she would file a First Information Report (FIR) against the BJP and the ED if any harm befell Jyotipriya Mallick.
Several TMC leaders have faced a series of corruption charges, placing the state government under scrutiny. Earlier this year, former West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee, along with his aide Arpita Mukherjee, was arrested in connection with alleged corruption related to teachers’ recruitment.
Regarding the alleged ration scam, the ED had previously arrested businessman Bakibur Rahaman on October 14, with ties allegedly linking him to Jyotipriya Mallick. It is alleged that Rahman supplied rice and wheat in reduced quantities to distributors, reselling the excess in the open market. The ED conducted search operations for three days at various locations owned by Rahman in Nadia and North 24 Parganas districts, including rice and flour mills, a three-star hotel, and a bar.
Jyotipriya Mallick’s arrest and the ongoing investigations have cast a spotlight on the alleged ration distribution scam, underscoring the challenges of corruption allegations and political tensions in West Bengal.
Sources By Agencies