After recovering wads of banknotes worth 50 crore hidden in two posh apartments belonging to Arpita Mukherjee, the close aide of the recently sacked Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, the law investigating the money trail behind the school-level recruitment scam came across three bank accounts of Mukherjee loaded with crores.
The ED found `2.20 crore in three accounts, sources said adding that all three accounts had been frozen.
In addition, ED is also looking for four fancy cars owned by Mukherjee, a part-time model-actress. The four cars, “an Audie, a Mercedes Benz and two Honda-class cars went missing after the raid on Mukherjee’s Diamond City apartment,” sources citing the ED said officials feared the cars were were used to transfer money from the first apartment which brought in 22 crores in cash and another 2 crores in foreign currency and jewelry.
Officials who were checking CCTV footage are of the opinion that the missing cars could lead to others being involved in the scam. Three plush bungalows owned by Mukherjee and Chatterjee in Bolpur – a weekend tourist spot – behind Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan Vihwa Bharati University are also under ED scanning, sources said.
About 50 crores in cash and jewelry worth more than 5 crores in addition to bank instruments and property deeds worth crores were recovered from two of Mukherjee’s flats in the last week .
Officials also found documents showing Arpita’s repeated trips to some Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Bangladesh. Officials are of the opinion that these visits could be linked to some kind of hawala transactions.
Meanwhile, a day after being sacked from Cabinet and stripped of all party posts, Partha Chatterjee – now in ED custody – made a charged statement to the media on Friday about decisions made by the Trinamool Congress. regarding his suspension from the party.
When asked to comment on his thoughts on the current situation when he was removed from the ministry and stripped of all party posts, he said that all “decisions made by Mamata Banerjee were correct”.
Afterwards, when asked if the party had made the right decision in removing him, he replied that “only time will tell” and added that he had been the victim of a conspiracy.
The removal of Chatterjee, a founding member of the TMC, is seen as a vertical split in the Trinamool Congress – between senior leaders allegiance to the chief minister and the new generation loyal to his nephew Abhishek Banerjee.
“Partha Chatterjee’s remarks indicate that the TMC is split between two groups of thieves – the new generation and the old generation,” a senior Pradesh Congress official said.