New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday seized Rs 20 crore in cash after conducting raids on the premises of Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, in connection with the teacher recruitment scam in the state, news agency PTI reported. The ED sleuths have also recovered 20 mobile phones from the posh residence of Mukherjee at the Diamond City complex in Kolkata’s Tollygunge.
“The said amount is suspected to be proceeds of crime of the said SSC scam,” the ED said in a statement.
The agency shared four photographs of piles of cash in the denomination of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 besides a number of sealed packets inside a room. The search teams have taken the assistance of bank officials for the counting of cash through counting machines.
Apart from Partha Chatterjee, the ED raided the residences of Minister of State for Education Paresh C Adhikary, former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education Manik Bhattacharya and others.
According to the PTI report, at least seven to eight ED personnel arrived at Chatterjee’s Naktala residence in Kolkata around 8:30 am and carried out searches. They questioned Chatterjee for more than 11 hours about the alleged scam.
Chatterjee, currently Industries and Commerce Minister, held the education portfolio when the scam allegedly took place. He was interrogated by the CBI twice earlier, once on April 26 and then on May 18.
Another team of ED officials visited Adhikari’s home at Mekhliganj in Coochbehar district and talked to his family members.
Meanwhile, the TMC described the concerted raids as “ploy” by the BJP government at the Centre to harass its political opponents.
“This raid by ED, a day after the spectacular Martyrs’ Day rally that created ripples all over the country, is nothing but an attempt to harass and intimidate leaders of the TMC. The CBI has already interrogated them (ministers) as part of a court directive and they are cooperating. Now, the ED is being invoked only to discredit them. The money laundering issue is being invented by the BJP,” PTI quoted transport minister Firhad Hakim as saying.