Agency’s chargesheet shows Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee have assets worth over Rs 100 crore.

 

NEW DELHI”: The chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), investigating the SSC recruitment scam, in the Bankshal court in Kolkata earlier this week, shows that former TMC minister and heavyweight Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee have moveable and immovable assets worth more than Rs 100 crore.
According to the ED chargesheet, more than Rs 54 crore of movable assets, including cash and jewellery, have been found linked to Partha Chatterjee, while Rs 40 crore of immovable assets were recovered by the ED during the investigation. At the time of filing the nomination in March 2021 West Bengal assembly election, Partha Chatterjee had declared that he had Rs 1.48 lakh cash in hand, a two-and-a-half-storey house worth Rs 25 lakh, mutual funds which he purchased with his provident fund and some policies. The minister’s sources of income are salary and interest from bank, said his last affidavit.
However, as per the 172-page chargesheet filed by the ED in the Kolkata court, a copy of which has been accessed by The Sunday Guardian, the ED found 40 properties linked to Partha Chatterjee. Most of these properties are in and around Kolkata and its adjoining districts of South 24 Parganas, Birbhum and Medinipur.
The ED in its chargesheet has said that all these properties that have been found by them during the investigation have been bought from the “proceeds of crime derived out of criminal activities related to the scheduled offence,” indicating that these properties were allegedly bought by Partha Chatterjee and his aide from the alleged bribe he collected during the SSC teachers’ recruitment when he was the Education Minister of West Bengal.
However, the ED has failed to name the chartered accountants, the company secretaries and the lawyers who helped Partha Chatterjee in establishing these companies to launder money. The ED has also found during its investigation that Chatterjee, along with his accomplices, had set up a trust in the name of his deceased wife, “Babli Chatterjee Foundation” who passed away in 2017 and ED’s investigation indicates that this trust was used for money laundering and to set up a school, BCM International School.
“Investigation conducted revealed that cash to the tune of Rs 15 crore was infused in the construction of BCM International School. Expenses of Rs 4.38 crore has been shown to have been incurred in the construction of the school. Investigation conducted revealed that the total value of the BCM International School: Cash Infused- Rs 15,00,00,000; Expenses shown-Rs 438,88,252; Total Value of the BCM International School determined so far-Rs 19,38,88,252,” says the ED chargesheet.
Interestingly, the name of Partha Chatterjee’s son-in-law, Kalyanmoy Bhattacharya, has been mentioned in the ED chargesheet 44 times. Kalyanmoy Bhattacharya is also linked to the BCM International School and he is allegedly the most important director of Babli Chatterjee Foundation. ED investigation also reveals that along with Kalyanmoy Bhattacharya, other close relatives of Partha Chatterjee were made directors of several companies.
The ED in its chargesheet has named eight accused; among them, Partha Chatterjee has been named as accused number one, while his close aide, Arpita Mukherjee, has been named as the accused number two, the rest of the six accused are shell companies floated by Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee.
The companies that have been listed as accused and have been used as shell companies by the duo are, M/s Echhay Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. having its registered office at 95, Raj Danga Main Road, Lp-107/439/78 Kolkata, West Bengal 700107, M/s Ananta Texfab Pvt. Ltd. having its registered office at 14 B.T.Road, Block-5, Flat 8A, Kolkata700056, M/s Viewmore Highrise Pvt. Ltd. having its registered office at 8, Jamini Roy Sarani Kolkata Kolkata, West Bengal Accused No.- 07 Page 2 of 172 700019, M/s Symbiosis Merchants Pvt. Ltd. having its registered office at 19, Nawab Abdul Latif Street 22, Belgharia, North 24 Parganas Kolkata, West Bengal -700056, M/s Sentry Engineering Pvt. Ltd. having its registered address at Flat No. 1A, Tower-2, Diamond City South, 58 M.G. Road, Tollygunge, Kolkata, M/s APA Utility Services having address at 348/52, NSC Bose Road, Kolkata.
The ED has said, “Shri Partha Chatterjee had made dummy directors in the said company under his control namely M/s Ananta Texfab Pvt Ltd., M/s Symbiosis Merchants Pvt. Ltd., M/s Viewmore Highrise Pvt. Ltd. etc. Under priviledged people having meagre means of living were exploited and made directors by Shri Partha Chatterjee and thereafter made to sign on the papers of the company without their consent or knowledge and even without showing them any contents of the documents.
“The said companies were floated with the sole aim of laundering the tainted funds acquired from the criminal activity of selling jobs in lieu of money. That a huge cash amount of Rs 27.90 crore were found at the registered address of this company and the “purported directors on paper” had no knowledge of it,” the ED further said in the chargesheet.
The ED has further said, “Investigation conducted under PMLA has revealed that the cash seized from the premises of Ms Arpita Mukherjee belongs to Shri Partha Chatterjee, as has been categorically accepted by Ms Arpita Mukherjee in her statement dated 04.08.2022. She even made an application before the Investigating Officer for a true disclosure in this regard.”