Arpita Mukherjee, the aide and alleged girlfriend of former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, is facing a threat to her life, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court today. The probe agency also told the court that water and food be checked before giving to Mukherjee.
The ED today applied for 14 days' judicial remand for Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee, who have been arrested in connection with the investigation into the money trail in the School Service Commission teachers' appointments scandal in which, allegedly,
- a panel authorised for the recruitments went about its work beyond the tenure when it was valid
- appointed teachers who did not pass the test
- denied appointments to meritorious candidates
"We have come to know from intelligence input that Arpita Mukherjee has specific threat perception but there is no threat perception in the case of Partha Chatterjee," ED's counsel told the court.
"On 1 November 2012, Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee entered into partnership and formed a company. We have also been enquiring whether this firm was also involved in money laundering or not. We have also recovered phone data for a few periods that need to be confronted by Partha Chatterjee. So we request the court to send them to judicial custody," the ED lawyer said.
"As many as 50 accounts are under scrutiny. Arpita Mukherjee should be given food and water after testing in jail," the ED told the court. Both of them have been in ED remand since their arrest on July 23 in connection with the agency's investigation into the alleged money trail involved in illegal appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff in teachers' recruitment scam.
Partha Chatterjee's lawyer pleaded for bail and argued that in the CBI case, the accused was not seen directly taking or asking for money.
"There is no witness in the case that Partha Chatterjee asked for money. There is no instance of him inducing someone for money. Where are the documents? These are all allegations," lawyer of former Trinamool Congress lawyer said.
"Partha Chatterjee is not at all connected with the proceeds. He was in prolonged custody. Just merely saying that Partha Chatterjee is not co-operating is not the criterion. If someone is not involved, then how can he accept it?", his lawyer asked.
Earlier, the ED had said that Partha Chatterjee had been named as a nominee in 31 life insurance policies belonging to Arpita Mukherjee.
"He is not an influential person anymore and is also willing to consider giving up his MLAship," Chatterjee's lawyer said, adding that property deeds are forged and ingenuine.
The PMLA special court judge Jibon Kumar Sadhu reserved his order after hearing all the parties in the case.
The ED has claimed to have recovered Rs 49.8 crore in cash, a huge quantity of jewellery and gold bars from flats owned by Mukherjee, besides documents of properties and of a company joint held by the two accused.