Former West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and his alleged close associate Arpita Mukherjee, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on money laundering charges, were on Wednesday remanded to further judicial custody till December 14 by a court here.
The ED had arrested the duo on July 23 and recovered huge amounts of cash, jewellery and property deeds from Arpita Mukherjee's flats.
The agency alleged criminal conspiracy by them for laundering ill-gotten money from giving jobs of assistant teachers and primary teachers in state government-sponsored and aided schools to undeserving persons.
PMLA court judge at the Bankshall Court here extended the judicial remand of Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee till December 14, stating that the investigation is underway in full swing.
Observing that new avenues are opening up regularly with the interrogation of the accused persons and other relevant witnesses, the court also allowed the ED's prayer for questioning Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee in the correctional homes where they are lodged.
Seeking extension of their custody, the ED's lawyers submitted that among other revelations during the course of the probe, it is also investigating transactions in over 100 bank accounts, which it claimed were used for laundering proceeds sourced from criminal activities.
Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee were produced before the court through the virtual mode from the correctional homes.
Submitting that the former minister has been in custody for 113 days, his lawyers claimed that there was no need to keep him behind bars any further, as the trial may take a long time to conclude.
Arpita Mukherjee's lawyers also made similar submissions, opposing the prayer for extending her judicial custody.
Neither of them, however, made any bail prayer before the court.
Partha Chatterjee held the education portfolio between 2014 and 2021 when the irregularities in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in state government-sponsored and aided schools is alleged to have taken place.
He was relieved of his ministerial duties by the Mamata Banerjee government following his arrest by the ED. He held several portfolios, including Parliamentary Affairs, Industry and Commerce when he was arrested.
The Trinamool Congress also removed him from all posts he held in the party, including that of its secretary general.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)