The close association between Arpita Mukherjee and Partha Chatterjee started much before the latter became West Bengal Education Minister as is evident from a land purchase deed at Bolpur-Santiniketan in Birbhum district, famous for Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore-founded Visva Bharati University.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths, probing the multi-crore West Bengal Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam, have accessed documents of a luxurious mansion in the name of Mukherjee at Fuldanga area in Bolpur-Santiniketan. The name of the mansion is “APA” – deemed to be derived from the first letter of her name and first two letters of his name.
Residents of Fuldanga area have also confirmed that they have seen Chatterjee and Mukherjee coming together to ‘APA’ several times.
ED sources said that although currently the mansion is registered in the name of Mukherjee, past records of the land on which the mansion is constructed shows the association of Chatterjee with it.
As per records of the West Bengal Land and Land Reforms, and Refugee, Relief and Rehabilitation department, the land, of around seven kathas on which the mansion is constructed, was purchased in 2012 jointly by Mukherjee and Chatterjee from a Kolkata- based Bengali family at a price of Rs 20 lakh.
However, after the construction of the mansion, its mutation was done in 2020 and that certificate was issued only in the name of Mukherjee.
From the timeline, it is clear that their association was much before Chatterjee became Education Minister. In 2012, or a year after the Trinamool Congress came to power ousting the 34-year-old Left Front government, Chatterjee was the state Commerce and Industries and Parliamentary Affairs minister. He became Education Minister in May 2014 and continued in that chair till May 2021.
After the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls, Chatterjee was again given the portfolio of Commerce and Industries and held it till July 28, when he was stripped of all his ministerial and party charges.
ED sources said that this is not the only property in the district that has monetary involvement of Chatterjee and Mukherjee. “Many more such properties are currently under our scanner and all details will be revealed in the days to come,” an ED official said.
ED begins process of freezing bank accounts of Partha’s associate
Kolkata, Jul 30 (PTI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has begun the process of freezing at least three bank accounts of suspended TMC leader Partha Chatterjee’s associate Arpita Mukherjee, where they have found at least Rs 2 crore, a senior official of the agency said on Saturday.
Bank accounts belonging to several “shell companies” of Mukherjee are also under ED scanner, he said.
“The process of freezing Mukherjee’s three bank accounts has started. A total of around Rs 2 crore has been found in these accounts. We suspect these accounts were used to carry out several transactions and further probe is underway,” the official said.
He said a decision on freezing the bank accounts of the “shell companies” is yet to be taken, while refusing to divulge the amount in those accounts.
“We have sought the details of these bank accounts from authorities concerned. After going through the accounts, we will decide our next course of action,” he said.
The ED sleuth said the agency will continue grilling Mukherjee to know whether she has any more bank accounts.
Chatterjee’s bank accounts are also being checked, sources said.
Interrogation of both Mukherjee and Chatterjee is underway since morning, they said.
Both Chatterjee, who has been stripped of his ministerial and party duties, and Mukherjee, from whose two flats ED has seized Rs 50 crore in cash besides jewellery and foreign currency, will be in the custody of the central agency till August 3.
The duo was arrested on July 23 for their alleged involvement in the school jobs scam, where genuine candidates were allegedly sidestepped with names that did not appear on the merit list. ED is probing the money laundering aspect of the scam.
When taken to ESI Hospital in Joka area in south Kolkata on Friday, Chatterjee alleged he was a “victim of conspiracy”, but TMC has asserted that he was “solely responsible for his fate”.