WB SSC scam: I was EXPLOITED by Partha Chatterjee, Arpita tells ED

Kolkata: In the wake of the massive recovery of cash and gold items from her residences in Kolkata`s Tollygunge and Belgharia, Arpita Mukherjee has reportedly told the Enforcement Directorate that the entire money and valuables belong to West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, who has been arrested by the central agency in connection with the SSC teacher recruitment scam.

Arpita, a close aide of the disgraced TMC leader, also reportedly confessed before the ED sleuths that she was forced by Partha Chatterjee to allow her houses to be used to store the illegal cash. She also admitted that the entire cash recovered from her residence was parked there by Chatterjee with the help of one of his close associates unknown to her.

It has now emerged that Chatterjee used to visit her residences quite often and had closed-door meetings with the unknown person in which she was not allowed to participate. While admitting all this emotionally chocked Mukherjee alleged that she was exploited. 

It may be recalled that Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recovered Rs 27.9 crore in cash, besides a huge amount of gold jewellery from an apartment linked to Arpita Mukherjee, considered a close associate of arrested West Bengal Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee.

The stacks of cash were recovered from the apartment in Belgharia on Wednesday, and after overnight counting, it amounted to Rs 27.90 crore, they said. The investigators are still ascertaining the value of the gold jewellery, believed to be in kgs, they added. The money and gold were found five days after the agency seized more than Rs 21 crore in cash, besides jewellery and foreign exchange from another flat of Mukherjee in south Kolkata’s Tollygunge area, following which she was arrested.

In all, nearly Rs 50 crore in cash has been seized so far, officials said. ED officials on Wednesday conducted coordinated raids at various properties at Rajdanga in south Kolkata and Belgharia in the northern fringes of the city.

During questioning, Mukherjee informed the ED about those properties, officials said. ED sleuths had to break open a door to get into the two flats in Belgharia’s Rathtala locality as the keys to open them could not be spotted, they said. Several “vital” documents were also found in the flats during a search, the official said.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress leadership is under immense pressure from within the party to relieve Partha Chatterjee of his ministerial and party posts with immediate effect.

“Partha Chatterjee should be removed from ministry and all-party posts immediately. He should be expelled. If this statement considered wrong, party has every right to remove me from all posts. I shall continue as a soldier of AITCofficial,” Trinamool Congress state general secretary and party spokesman, Kunal Ghosh said in a tweet.

Without naming the Minister, youth Trinamool Congress leader Debangshu Bhattacharya said in a social media post that “it is better to puncture that boil to give the body a relief”.