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Partha, Arpita to remain in ED custody till Aug 5

Former West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee were sent to three more days in the custody of the ED by a special court in Kolkata in the SSC scam case.

Enforcement Directorate | Partha Chatterjee | Kolkata

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee (Photo: PTI)

Former West Bengal education minister and his aide Arpita Mukherjee were sent to three more days in the custody of the (ED) by a special court in in the SSC scam case.

The ED had sought four days of custody for Chatterjee and three days for Mukherjee, from whose apartments crores of rupees in cash and other valuables were recovered last month.

They are facing charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Hearing the arguments, special PMLA judge Jibon Kumar Sadhu granted three days' ED custody to both the accused.

They will be produced before the court again on August 5, he directed.

The investigating officer was directed to arrange for the medical examinations of both the accused persons every 48 hours during their stay in ED custody.

Appearing for the ED, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) SV Raju submitted that several companies and properties in the joint holding of Chatterjee and Mukherjee were unearthed, and they were needed to be questioned on these.

He said that Chatterjee has so far remained tightlipped on questioning by the ED and has not been cooperating in the investigation, but Mukherjee is comparatively forthcoming.

Claiming that Chatterjee is innocent of the crimes alleged, his counsel KP Das questioned whether cooperating means to admitting the accusations made by the ED.

The ASG claimed that some residential flats have been found to be under the joint ownership of the two accused, and with new revelations in the case coming up every other day, they need to be confronted with these details.

Praying for Chatterjee's bail on any condition that may be imposed by the court, his counsel Das submitted that to locate bank accounts of a person one does not need his custody as these can be found by using the PAN.

He, however, further submitted that if Chatterjee is at all remanded to ED custody again, then it should not exceed two days as he was arrested on July 23 and a maximum of 15 days' police remand is permissible under law.

Seeking a four-day ED custody for Chatterjee, Raju said that two days were wasted as he was admitted to the hospital and the agency could not question him.

Opposing Mukherjee's remand prayer for three days, her counsel submitted that the court should decide whether any further ED custody is required for his client.

Raju submitted that Rs 21.90 crore in cash was seized from her flat in south on July 22, and Rs 27.90 crore in cash was recovered from another flat owned by her at Belghoria along with gold valued at Rs 4.31 crore, apart from other documents on July 27, indicating large scale money laundering.

The ASG submitted that the association between Chatterjee and Mukherjee goes back to at least 2012 as a conveyance deed dated January 20, 2012, registered in Bolpur, Birbhum district, in the joint names of the two accused was seized.

It was also alleged that a partnership deed with an equal share of the two accused was entered into in the name of APA Utility Services on November 1, 2012.

After hearing all the parties, the judge said it appears that during the course of search, various documents relating to immovable properties and appointment of staff were recovered and seized.

"From the materials available on case diary, it appears that accused persons are involved in the commission of offence as alleged," the judge observed.

Judge Sadhu said in his order that the investigation process in the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has just begun and "is in process and progress".

Rejecting the bail prayers of the accused petitioners, the judge remanded both Chatterjee and Mukherjee to three days in ED custody.

The alleged irregularities in the recruitment drives by the School Service Commission (SSC) took place when Chatterjee was the education minister of the state.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, August 04 2022. 07:35 IST