An alleged joint property of Bengal’s former minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee in Santiniketan is being searched by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Around Rs 50 crore in cash has been recovered from two properties of Arpita Mukherjee in Kolkata – a find that has set off a huge political controversy.
Sources said officials of the Enforcement Directorate officials were seen digging in the ground of the property in Santiniketan, which was later registered in the name of Arpita Mukherjee.
ED officials said Arpita Mukherjee had admitted to having four properties in her name.
The officials got suspicious that cash is stashed away somewhere on the grounds after observing the activities of the gardener, said agency sources.
The central agency — which is investigating an alleged money laundering case against the former minister — has said several properties are under the scanner.
Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee — who were arrested and placed in the custody of the ED for further questioning — will be produced in a court in Kolkata today.
Last week, another stack of cash was recovered from a second property of Arpita Mukherjee.
Arpita Mukherjee has reportedly told investigators that the money was kickback from the state’s massive teacher recruitment scam. Only Partha Chatterjee and his men had access to the room where the cash was kept, she had claimed.
Partha Chatterjee — the senior-most minister in Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet and her close aide — has been accused of having a role in allegedly illegal appointments of school teachers and staff in government-run schools when he was Education Minister. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last week.