After a 10-day custodial interrogation of Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee, suspects in the Bengal SSC scam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is scheduled to produce the duo before a PMLA court in Kolkata today and is likely to pray for further remand.
During the custody period, the agency recovered a whopping 27.9 crore rupees in cash and gold worth another 4.3 crores from one of Arpita’s apartments besides property papers and and other incriminating evidences allegedly linking the two to the scam and taking the overall recoveries to more than Rs 50 crores. Several other properties have also been searched and evidences were reportedly gathered.
Both Arpita Mukherjee and Partha Chatterjee have claimed in the meanwhile that they have no knowledge of the seized cash and valuables. While Chatterjee has alleged being a “victim of conspiracy”, his aide has stated that the cash was placed at her flats without her presence and knowledge.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is set to reshuffle the cabinet today and redistribute arrested minister Partha Chatterjee’s portfolios. The CM will bring in several new faces, including women leaders, who were given responsibilities of district organization of TMC. According to sources, about six ministers will be dropped. Ministers who will be dropped will be given more responsibility in the Trinamool Congress organisation, party insiders said.
Here are the updates in Bengal SSC scam case:
• ED officials A team of ED officials to raid properties belonging to Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee in Santiniketan. Sources said the ED is also likely to visit the former education minister’s school at Pingla, West Midnapore.
• As their 10-day custodial period ends, the ED will produce Chatterjee and Mukherjee before a PMLA court today. The ED is likely to seek extended custody for two more days and will produce evidence of joint financial interest of both. Officials have found a partnership deed during searches which reveal that both accused are 50 percent partners.
• TMC sources told News18 Ballygunge MLA Babul Supriyo, Naihati legislator Partha Bhowmick, Zakir Hussain from Murshidabad, Biplab Roy Chowdhury of West Panskura, Udayan Guha from Dinhata, Satyajit Barman from Hemtabad, Pradeep Majumdar from Durgapur East, and Snehasis Chakraborty from Jangipara are likely to get cabinet berths.
• The ED raided a 3BHK flat owned by Arpita Mukherjee on Tuesday and discovered 3 beds in each room. Officials are yet to find out the reason for having three beds in each of the rooms.
• Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote to CM Banerjee expressing concern over the scam. In his letter, Pradhan cited instances of irregularities in the appointment of teachers through the State Level Selection Test (SLST). He also assured Banerjee of the central government’s continuous support and highest consideration to ensure access to quality education for all children in West Bengal.
• A middle-aged woman attempted to throw her shoes at Chatterjee on Tuesday as he was being escorted out ESI Hospital in Joka by ED officials. The woman, Shubra Ghorui, is said to have harboured anger against Chatterjee after the seizure of around Rs 50 crore in cash, along with jewellery, by the Enforcement Directorate from two apartments owned by Arpita Mukherjee.
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