Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of former West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee, has disclosed Rs 49.80 crore hard cash and the gold jewellery worth more than Rs 5 crore recovered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) from her two houses belongs to the minister.
Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee were arrested by the ED after money running into crores and gold jewellery were recovered from two flats registered in Mukherjee's name. The ED arrested them to question their involvement in the West Bengal teachers' recruitment scam.
While the ED recovered Rs 21 crore from her first flat, it recovered another 28 crore and 5kg of gold from her second apartment.
According to the chargesheet issued by the ED on Monday, Arpita Mukherjee refused to divulge the details related to the source of the money and gold jewellery recovered from her two houses and who did it belong to.
During the initial stages of the investigation, Arpita told the officers that she doesn't have any idea about those cash and gold. She also told she had no knowledge about when and how the cash and jewellery reached her residence.
Now, the ED has said in the chargesheet that after repeated interrogation, Arpita Mukherjee finally broke down and confessed the cash and gold recovered from her two residences belonged to Chatterjee and that she initially did not disclose the ownership of the money and jewellery fearing her own security and that of her mother’s.
The ED also said in the chargesheet that Arpita Mukherjee disclosed the real owner of the seized items when she was interrogated last on August 4 and that since everything belonged to Chatterjee, only he would be able to explain their source.
The ED also said that Arpita Mukherjee has also requested to treat her disclosure as a formal application for consideration in the high court so that the court takes a lenient view under provisions of the law.
ARPITA TOOK MEMBERSHIP AT SHOPPING MALL USING PARTHA CHATTERJEE'S TRADE LICENCE
During the search operation at the residence of Arpita Mukherjee, the Enforcement Directorate found an invoice dated September 1, 2018, of Metro Cash & Carry—a multipurpose convenience store—issued in Partha Chatterjee’s name.
During investigation, the ED found that Chatterjee also holds a trade licence with the help of which he obtained two membership cards—one for himself and the other for Arpita Mukherjee from Metro Cash & Carry Pvt Ltd.
It is to be noted that METRO Cash & Carry’s core customers include small retailers and kirana stores, hotels, restaurants and caterers, corporates, small and medium enterprises all types of offices, companies and institutions, and anyone with a trade licence.
According to the ED, Chatterjee and his aide used the membership cards to shop at the Metro Cash & Carry shopping complex.
When Chatterjee was first arrested by the ED, he denied having any relation with Arpita Mukherjee.
The ED has attested the bill recovered from Mukherjee’s flat to the chargesheet filed before the court to show the close association of Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee.