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Partha & Co. Routed Black Money Via 30 Shell Cos, Reveals ED

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By: Joymala Bagchi | KOLKATA
Updated: August 18, 2022 15:55
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In fresh disclosures in the Bengal teachers’ recruitment case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday told a local court that sacked state minister Partha Chatterjee and his accomplices, routed alleged black money through 30 shell companies.

Partha was produced before the Bankshall court by the financial probe agency on Thursday. The judicial custody of Partha and Arpita has been extended till August 31.

Pleading for his bail on Thursday, Partha’s lawyer submitted before the court that the agency could not find any documents during searches at his residence and other properties that could prove his role in the scam.

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Countering the argument, the ED counsel said it had unravelled links between 60 bank accounts belonging to former Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman Partha and his associates and 30 shell companies. “Has it been done to launder the black money into white?” the lawyer asked.

In further revelations, the ED told the court that it had found a diversion of funds between a trust registered in the name of Partha’s wife Babli and Paschim Medinipur-based BCM International School. “Some specific messages were found when his (Partha’s) phone was scanned. He had received some messages asking to pay a premium of his close associate Arpita Mukherjee’s policy. But his advocates said that no documents were seized from his place and he has no knowledge about it,” the ED lawyer said. He also told the court that the former TMC minister was not cooperating. Partha has been interrogated 17 times while Arpita, an actor and model, was grilled on 16 occasions, the agency said.

Arguing for Partha’s bail, his lawyer said that he is facing a “life-threatening condition” and should be granted bail, submitting that he is not in a position to influence witnesses in the case. “He is in such a condition now that he can’t even go to the bathroom without support. He fell ill in jail and is without medical assistance. I pray for his bail only on medical grounds. Life is more precious than this case,” Partha’s lawyer pleaded.

Earlier this month, the ED had informed the court that besides the recovery of ₹49 crore cash and jewellery worth ₹5 crore, Partha had floated a partnership deed with Arpita in 2012. Partha and Arpita were arrested after multi-hour questioning in the teachers’ recruitment scam last month. On July 28, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sacked Partha from the Cabinet as well as all the posts in the TMC.

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