Rs 50 Crore, 5 kg Gold: Cash Mountain At Houses of Bengal Minister's Aide

The probe agency officials left Arpita Mukherjee's home in the Belgharia area of Kolkata early this morning with 10 trunks of cash.

Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee were arrested on July 23 (File)

Kolkata:

About Rs 29 crore in cash and five kilograms of gold jewellery were recovered from the second flat of Arpita Mukherjee in Kolkata, a close aide of arrested West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, during a raid conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a school jobs scam, officials said. 

The probe agency officials left Arpita Mukherjee's home in the Belgharia area of Kolkata early this morning with 10 trunks of cash after concluding the 18-hour-long raid.

Sources say that ED officials used three note-counting machines to know the exact amount of cash seized from Ms Mukherjee's second flat.

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Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee were arrested on July 23, a day after the first lot of cash was discovered at her home. 
During last week's raid, the probe agency officials had recovered Rs 21 crore in cash, a huge amount of foreign exchange and gold bars worth Rs 2 crore from Ms Mukherjee's other flat in the city. They also found a diary with around 40 pages of notes that could provide crucial leads in the investigation.
So far, Rs 50 crore in cash has been recovered from the two homes of Ms Mukherjee. Some crucial documents have also been seized that are being examined by the authorities. 
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The raids were carried out as part of the ED's investigation into a money laundering case linked to a school jobs scam in the state. 
Partha Chatterjee, a senior minister in Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's cabinet and her close aide, is accused of having a role in allegedly illegal appointments of school teachers and staff in government-run schools when he was Education Minister.

Ms Mukherjee has reportedly told investigators that the money was kickback received for transfers and for helping colleges get recognition.

"Partha used my house and that of another woman as a mini-bank. That other woman is also his close friend," Arpita Mukherjee reportedly told investigators.

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Yesterday, the probe agency also questioned Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya, a former president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. 

Facing opposition's ire over Mr Chatterjee's arrest, Mamata Banerjee last week said that she doesn't support corruption and that the arrested minister should be punished if found guilty.

"If anyone is found guilty, he or she must be punished, but I condemn any malicious campaign against me. The truth must come out, but within a time frame," she had said. 

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