Enforcement Directorate finds ₹27.9cr in cash and jewellery worth ₹4.31 crore in Arpita’s Belgharia flat

 An officer said Mukherjee told them during interrogation that the money belonged to Partha Chatterjee
Photo source: ANI
KINSUK BASU | TT  |  29.07.22: A search and seizure operation that began around 2pm on Wednesday at Arpita Mukherjee’s apartment in Belgharia on the northern fringes of Kolkata ended around 7am on Thursday. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said it had yielded ₹27.9 crores in cash, gold bars and ornaments and diamond jewellery worth ₹4.31 crore.

The entire haul was from one room and an adjoining washroom, an ED officer said. There was money, gold and diamonds inside a cabinet of the washroom at Mukherjee’s 1,700sqft apartment, the officer said. Several land deeds were also apparently found from the flat that neighbours said Mukherjee used to visit frequently.

An ED officer said Mukherjee told them during interrogation that the money belonged to Partha Chatterjee, former education minister, who is now in ED custody along with Mukherjee in connection with alleged irregularities in school recruitments.

The officer said Mukherjee had told them she was unaware of how much money was in her flats in Tollygunge and Belgharia. A part of the cash was in trolley bags in the larger room, created by merging two adjacent rooms. “Most of the cash was strewn on the floor near the bed. Some bundles were stashed inside the dressing cabinet and a lot of cash was inside the wardrobe,” said an ED officer.
Partha Chatterjee.: File photo

At least three pen drives, a 60GB hard disc and one tablet were found in the room, the officer added. “The jewellery was kept in a scattered way inside the drawers without any jewellery boxes,” he said. ED officers requisitioned four cash counting machines for the money that was found in the flat.

An ED team revisited the housing complex on Thursday evening and went to a flat that is registered in name of a man named Asim Sarkar. Sources said a tenant lives in that flat. ED officers said they collected the rent agreement from the tenants in the apartment. On Thursday, ED officials continued their search and seizure operations. A team went to Mukherjee’s Chinar Park flat in New Town.

Sources in the investigating agency said Mukherjee had purchased the apartment on the third floor of Block C of the housing complex in 2017. Around 8.10pm, ED officials sealed the New Town flat after completing their search operation. A section of the investigators said they had found leads to suggest that Mukherjee had purchased around 10 acres of land behind Kolkata Leather Complex in Bantala on the city’s south-eastern fringes. 

Officers said they had also found documents that revealed Chatterjee had allegedly bought large parcels of land in Baruipur on the southern fringes and had registered them in the name of one of his family members. “We are trying to trace the trail of the total money seized from the two apartments. Some of the proceeds of crime have also been parked in immovable assets and we are trying to locate them,” said a senior ED officer.

On Wednesday, the ED had questioned Manik Bhattacharya, former president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, for around 12 hours. Sources in the central agency said Bhattacharya has been summoned for another round of questioning on Friday. The Trinamul MLA from Palashipara in Nadia district holds the key to several unanswered questions, a senior ED officer said. 

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