The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Wednesday seized Rs 27.90 crore cash and about 6 kg of gold from a second flat of Arpita Mukherjee, a close aide of West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee who has been arrested by the probe agency over his alleged involvement in a school jobs scam.
“Bundles of cash were recovered from a shelf while inspecting Arpita’s flat located in Belgharia Town Club in Kolkata. It took several hours to count the notes with the help of bank officials and counting machines,” an ED official said. The counting went on till about 5.30 am on Thursday.
The seizure includes cash worth Rs 27.9 crore (Rs 2,000 notes packed into bundles of Rs 50 lakh each, and Rs 500 notes packed into bundles of Rs 20 lakh each), gold and jewellery worth Rs 4.31 crore (3 gold bricks of 1 kg each, 6 Bangles of 500 gram each among other jewellery and one gold pen).
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress general secretary and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh called for the expulsion of Partha Chatterjee from the party and the ministry. “Partha Chatterjee should be removed from ministry and all party posts immediately. He should be expelled. If this statement (is) considered wrong, party has every right to remove me from all posts. I shall continue as a soldier of AITC,” he tweeted.
Arpita Mukherjee is already in custody of ED and is being interrogated over her involvement in the case. At least four counting machines were used to count the cash.
Bengal school jobs scam: Cash worth Rs 20 crore, gold bars found in another house owned by Arpita Mukherjee pic.twitter.com/SptdIa4crQ
“Never have I stayed up the entire night. As soon as the officials entered the house, they found the cash packed in bundles. Most of the cash was recovered from the bedroom of her flat. Some were also kept in the washroom,” Ankit Churaria, one of the residents of the Club Town Heights in Belgharia, said. Arpita Mukherjee owns two flats in the society.
Besides cash and jewellery, ED officials have also recovered land-related documents from her house. According to sources, gold bars, silver coins, property deeds and CDs were recovered from her flat.
“I have been auditing bank accounts for the last 30 years and never have I seen such amounts of cash in my life. This is very surprising that such a large sum of money was stacked in a flat in the complex we reside in,” Umed Nahata, a resident of the same society, told The Indian Express.
Voicing his concerns about non-payment of maintenance fees of the society by Arpita since January, Sanjay Chandak, the treasurer of The Club Town Heights Apartment Association, told The Indian Express: “We are worried about the maintenance amount that remains due. We have entered the third quarter and as she has two flats, close to Rs 20,000 is due for each quarter.
People of the society had gathered in large numbers to get a glimpse of the cash that was recovered. The gates of the society were locked and only people with identity cards were being allowed. A large number of people had also gathered outside the society.
The central probe agency has sealed the house with a notice put up at the gate of the flat. “… This premises has been sealed by Vipul Harsh, Assistant Director of Enforcement Directorate. All persons including the owner of the premises is prohibited from break open the seal or from any other act which shall hamper the investigation under the prevention of money laundering act linked to this premises without getting approval from Enforcement Directorate,” the notice read.
Partha Chatterjee was brought back to Kolkata after a thorough check-up at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, and was taken to the ED office at the CGO complex on Tuesday. On Monday, a special court remanded both Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee in ED custody till August 3.