Sacked West Bengal cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee and close aide Arpita Mukherjee were brought face-to-face on Thursday for a joint interrogation session after 12 days of custody with the Enforcement Directorate. The two were made to confront each other and sat together for questioning in connection with the teacher recruitment scam case, in which the central agency is looking into the money trail.
According to ED officials, Mukherjee was cooperative but Chatterjee was evasive in his replies. The duo was questioned on joint deeds and financial papers recovered during raids conducted last month, they added.
Officials further said they were also quizzed on the properties that were searched by the agency, including those in Santiniketan like APA, Titli, Echhay and Labanya.
The ED also questioned the duo about their bank accounts and their stake in different companies, officials said. They were grilled about a document called ‘Apa Utility Services’ and the properties purchased under it. The document was seized on Wednesday, and both are said to have 50 per cent share in this “company”.
The ED said both will be produced before a court on Friday. The duo has been in the agency’s custody since their arrest on July 23.
According to reports, there are contradictions in their statements about the source of the Rs 50-crore cash seized from the two flats owned by Mukherjee.
Mukherjee had earlier told the ED that the money belonged to Chatterjee, and he and his other aides would use the flats for stashing the cash. She had said she had no access to the rooms from where the cash was recovered.
Chatterjee also said the money did not belong to him. He had said, “When the time comes, you will know…”
The ED has said several companies and properties in the joint holding of Chatterjee and Mukherjee have been unearthed. It has also claimed that five residential flats have been found to be under the joint ownership of the two accused.
On August 3, too, asking for extension of custody, the ED had told a special PMLA court that Rs 21.90 crore in cash was seized from Mukherjee’s flat in South Kolkata 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.
It also said 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.