In the aftermath of the high-profile arrest of TMC Minister Partha Chatterjee, Republic has accessed exclusive details pertaining to the SSC scam probe in West Bengal. According to sources, jewellery worth Rs 77 lakh has been recovered from Chatterjee's close aide Arpita Mukherjee’s residence, in addition to the Rs 20 crore cash stash found. While the initial cash recovery is said to be close to Rs 21 crore, the value is expected to go up as counting is still underway. Meanwhile, searches by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have ended.
Republic has also learnt that Arpita Mukherjee hasn’t been placed under arrest as of yet. The ED is expected to take her into custody after the process is over. Incriminating documents including admit cards have been recovered during the course of the raids, an analysis of which is underway. The ED maintains that the case is registered in Kolkata and there are no plans of bringing Partha Chatterjee to Delhi.
In a massive blow to the TMC on Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate arrested Partha Chatterjee in connection with the SSC recruitment scam. Re-elected from the Behala Paschim seat in the 2021 Assembly polls, he previously held the portfolio of Education Minister in the Mamata Banerjee-led Cabinet. He is presently the state's Commerce and Industry and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.
Officials of the central agency were conducting raids at his residence for over 26 hours.
While the CBI had been looking into the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of non-teaching staff (Group C & D), assistant teachers (Class IX-XII), and primary school teachers, the ED is probing the money laundering aspect. Partha Chatterjee was the Education Minister when this scam was allegedly pulled off. He has already been interrogated by the CBI on April 26 and May 18. As per sources, Chatterjee was taken into custody as he was reportedly elusive about the source of money.
According to a statement by the ED, "The search team is taking the assistance of bank officials for the counting of cash through cash counting machines. A total of more than 20 mobile phones have also been recovered from the premises of Ms. Arpita Mukherjee, the purpose and use of which are being ascertained. Further, a number of other incriminating documents, records, details of dubious companies, electronic devices, foreign currency and gold has also been recovered from the various premises of the persons linked to the scam."