Former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and his associate Arpita Mukherjee were on Friday sent to 14-day judicial remand in connection with a probe into the money trail in the School Service Commission (SSC) appointments scam. The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) special court judge, Jibon Kumar Sadhu ordered that both the accused will remain in the custody till August 18.
Chatterjee was sent to Presidency correctional home and Mukherjee to Alipore women’s correctional home. The jail supervisor will have to submit an overall safety-security report about both the accused on August 18. The court has granted permission for the interrogation of both accused in judicial custody in the presence of an investigating officer accompanied by two officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED had prayed for the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court’s permission to interrogate the two accused in the correctional home over new revelations in the case.
Chatterjee and Mukherjee have been in the probe agency’s remand since their arrest on July 23 in alleged connection with the money trail involved in illegal appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools.
Seeking Chatterjee’s bail, his lawyer mentioned in the court that he is an ordinary person now and will not abscond. “He is not an influential person anymore and is also willing to consider giving up his MLAship,” Chatterjee’s lawyer said.
Chatterjee has been relieved of his ministerial duties by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while TMC has removed him from all posts he held in the party. The ED has claimed that out of the 15 days that Chatterjee has been in its custody, at least two days were wasted owing to his admission to the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata. Chatterjee was sent to AIIMS Bhubaneswar for medical checkup on the order of Calcutta High Court and the doctors there had said he did not require any immediate intervention.
The ED has claimed to have recovered Rs 49.8 crore in cash, a huge quantity of jewellery and gold bars from flats owned by Mukherjee, besides documents of properties and of a company joint held by the two accused.
(with inputs from PTI)