Updated: Wed, 03 Aug 2022 09:10 PM IST
A Special Court in Kolkata on Wednesday extended the Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody of former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide, Arpita Mukherjee, by two days till August 5 in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam. The duo was produced before the court as their 10-day ED custody was coming to an end.
While the ED had sought their custody extension for four more days, the court extended it by two days. The duo was brought to the ED office in Kolkata and will be next presented before the same court on August 5.
During the hearing, the ED counsel told the court that since Chatterjee was not cooperating with the investigating officials, the agency needed to question the former state minister for some more time. The ED counsel also said that although Mukherjee has started showing signs of cooperation, she is expected to reveal more details pertaining to the scam and hence the extension of her custody was also necessary.
The ED counsel informed the court that so far, the agency sleuths have secured information about nine flats and residences, of which Mukherjee owns five while the remaining four are jointly held by the two. The counsel also said that on Wednesday itself, the agency came across the ownership document of a utility services company, which is held by the duo in the ratio of 50:50.
Mukherjee has a total of 31 life insurance policies, all of which mention Chatterjee as the nominee. The ED counsel argued that since new revelations regarding the WBSSC scam were being made every day, there is a need for extension of custody of the duo.
Chatterjee's counsel opposed the ED's plea for extension of custody, claiming that his client is physically unwell and hence he should be granted bail on health grounds. Mukherjee's counsel complained to the court that he is not being allowed to meet his client, which is causing difficulties for him to present his case.
The ED unearthed many disproportionate assets of Partha Chatterjee since his arrest, of which were three flats in West Bengal's Diamond City. The ED sleuths have recovered around Rs 50 crore in cash, along with jewellery, from Mukherjee's two flats in southwest Kolkata and Belghoria.
The arrest of Partha Chatterjee followed Rs 21 crore in cash and jewellery worth above Rs 1 crore being recovered from the Kolkata residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of the former education minister. The Enforcement Directorate July 23 recovered over Rs 21 crore in cash from the house of an associate of West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee.
The ED raided Arpita Mukerjee's house in connection with an alleged teacher recruitment scam. Earlier, Rs 20 crore was recovered from her residence in South Kolkata. ED officials also conducted a raid at the residence of businessman Manoj Jain in Ballygunge. Jain is reportedly an aide of state minister Partha Chatterjee.
Trinamool Congress, which has distanced itself from Chatterjee, axed him as a minister and suspended him from the party leaving it solely to him to defend himself in the Enforcement Directorate probe. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also suspended Chatterjee from the party and removed him from all the party posts.
(With Agencies Inputs)