Document seizure lists have been made to sign by Chatterjee by the ED officials in the presence of his advocate while a team of doctors has been called on Saturday morning for his health check up.
Traces of several properties have been identified by ED and links of various businessmen are also under scanner, ED sources said. Meanwhile, in addition to the seizure of Rs 20 crore cash from Arpita Mukherjee’s apartment, a close aide of Partha Chatterjee, two other posh apartments and a Bunglow have been traced in the name of Mukherjee. A huge amount of gold ornaments and documents of several other properties have been found, ED sources said.
A new team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) had reached Chatterjee’s house on Friday at night and security was beefed up outside the minister’s house. Following this, quizzing continued throughout the night. ED had reached the residence of Chatterjee at 8 am on Friday in connection with the alleged West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) teacher’s recruitment irregularities.
The ED yesterday seized around Rs 20 crore from the residential premises of Arpita Mukherjee, allegedly a close associate of Trinamool Congress secretary general Chatterjee in connection with the alleged scam.
Arpita Mukherjee was quizzed from 5am on Friday and interrogation still continues. Mukherjee was a small time actress in Tamil, Bengali and Odiya film industry and was a brand ambassador of Partha Chaterjee’s durga puja at Naktala.
“The ED has recovered huge cash amounting to approximately Rs. 20 crores from the residential premises of Arpita Mukherjee, who is a close associate of Partha Chatterjee…A total of more than 20 mobile phones have also been recovered from the premises of Arpita Mukherjee, the purpose and use of which is being ascertained. A number of other incriminating documents, records, details of dubious companies, electronic devices, foreign currency and gold has also been recovered from the various premises of the persons linked to the scam” ED statement said.
Following the money recovery, the party has distanced itself from Chatterjee. Kunal Ghosh, Trinamool state spokesperson, claimed that there is no connection of Trinamool Congress with the money recovered by ED. “Names of those who have come up in this case, they or their lawyers will reply on this,” Ghosh said.
A total of 13 teams of the ED with 90 officials have conducted parallel raids in 14 places in different parts of the state, starting from early morning yesterday. The ED is investigating the money-trail angle in the scam and this is for the first time that the agency sleuths have conducted physical raids at 14 places at a time.
Apart from Chatterjee, Education MoS Paresh Adhikari’s house in Mekhligunj, was also raided and Adhikari’s daughter and wife were quizzed. Former adviser of WBSSC Shanti Prasad Sinha, Partha Chatterjee’s son-in-law Kalyanmoy Bhattacharya and several other senior officials, one person Ranjan alias Chandan Mondal’s house was also raided by the ED officials.
It is learnt that the Income Tax Department raided Chatterjee’s close relatives’ houses in Midnapore’s Pingla and the minister’s secretary’s house in Barrackpore. “It is weird the raid has been conducted by Income Tax raid in the residences of Chatterjee’s relatives in Pingla. It is pure revenge politics. They were scared after witnessing yesterday’s mega rally. There is no other party in the country which can assemble such a spontaneous crowd,” Trinamool state spokesperson and minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said.
Apart from the ministers, ED also searched the houses of Manik Bhattacharya, MLA and Ex-President of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of Partha Chatterjee; PK Bandopadhyay, OSD to Chatterjee, Sukanta Acharjee, PS to the then MIC of Education, Chandan Mondal alias Ranjan, agent in selling jobs of teachers; Kalyanmay Bhattacharya, son-in-law of Partha Bhattacharya, among others.
Former board President Manik Bhattacharya’s house was raided throughout the night and his statement was recorded and he was asked to write answers to a set of questions, ED sources said.
Meanwhile, one Ranjan alias Chandan Mandal has appeared before Calcutta High Court in connection with recruitment irregularities. Mandal’s house in North 24 Parganas district’s Bagda is being raided from 9am today. Mandal is believed to have acted as the key intermediary in the scam and helped recruiting teachers in primary, upper primary and secondary in lieu of lakhs of money.