At least Rs 20 crore in cash and gold jewelery and ingots have been recovered from another home belonging to Arpita Mukherjee – the closest assistant to arrested Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee – days after a huge pile of banknotes were found in a room of one of her houses, according to sources at the Enforcement Directorate. This time, officials found the notes from a shelf in one of her apartments in Belgharia, located in the northern outskirts of the city, sources said. Bank officials still count the money on the spot with bill counting machines.
Sources say the ED also found more documents under investigation today. During last week’s raid, officials recovered a diary containing about 40 pages of notes that could provide crucial clues to the investigation. The ED also recovered several title deeds that could implicate Partha Chatterjee.
The ED officials had raided the house as part of their investigation. During the interrogation, Arpita gave Mukherjee information about all her belongings. She has a few flats in Belghoria and another in Rajdanga (in the southern part of the city.
The officials had to break open the main door of the flat because the keys could not be found, the Press Trust of India reported.
Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee were arrested on Saturday – a day after Rs 20 crore was discovered. Partha Chatterjee has been arrested in connection with an alleged money laundering case related to the teacher recruitment scam and will be held by the investigative agency until August 3.
Arpita Mukherjee has reportedly told investigators that the money was a bribe from the state’s massive scam to recruit teachers. She also said that only Partha Chatterjee and his men had access to the room where the money was kept. They used to come once every 10 days.
“Partha used my house and that of another woman as a mini-sofa. That other woman is also his good friend,” Arpita Mukherjee told the researchers.
Partha Chatterjee – the highest-ranking minister in the cabinet of the Prime Minister of Bengal Mamata Banerjee, and her close associate – has been accused of involvement in allegedly illegal appointments of teachers and staff in government-run schools when he was education minister. .
When asked today if he would resign from office, Chatterjee, visibly annoyed, shot back, “What’s the reason (for resigning)?”
Bangladeshi opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari – once a close associate of Mamata Banerjee – has questioned why Partha Chatterjee is being retained as minister despite his arrest. Adhikari met with Governor La Ganesan in the Raj Bhavan and requested the ousting of Mr Chatterjee, who has the industry, trade and parliamentary affairs portfolios, as minister.
“She (the Chief Minister) has not taken any steps against him despite so much information and evidence,” Adhikari told Press Trust of India news agency. It is “her strategy to show that she is good and others are not,” he added.