Meet Arpita who stashed Rs. 50 crore for Partha Chatterjee
In a shocking series of events, West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee was taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore teacher recruitment scam. The ED has so far recovered Rs. 50 crore from the house of his alleged aide, a model-turned-actor, and summoned MLA Manik Bhattacharya for questioning. Know more about the roles of Chatterjee's aides.
Why does this story matter?
Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and West Bengal Commerce and Industries Minister, Chatterjee's arrest comes as the latest in a string of Opposition leaders being prowled by the ED. The TMC denounced his arrest as a "ploy" to "harass" political opponents. The Bharatiya Janata Party BJP, however, said that the TMC had "supported large-scale abnormalities" in the appointment of teachers at all school levels.
Model-turned-aide, knew Chatterjee for 10 years
The ED, over two raids at Arpita Mukherjee's homes in Tollygunge and North 24 Parganas districts, managed to recover Rs. 50 crore cash and 5 kg gold. Now placed under ED custody, Mukherjee is reportedly a regional actor who has done minor roles in Bengali, Odia, and Tamil Films. Over a 10-year-long relationship, her home was used as a "mini-bank," as per reports.
Met Chatterjee through Puja committee
Local media reports say that she met Chatterjee through the 'Naktala Udayan Sangha' Durga Puja committee 10 years ago. The committee was headed by the Bengal minister. She had recently become the face of the committee and featured on multiple committee posters. In 2020, she even shared the stage with Chatterjee and CM Mamata Banerjee, a viral video shared by BJP leaders shows.
BJP leaders share video of Mukherjee & CM Banerjee
TMC MLA summoned by ED
After an eight-hour-long raid at his house last Saturday, the ED summoned TMC MLA from Palshipara, Bhattacharya, for questioning. He has been the president of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education. The Calcutta HC found him guilty of the illegal appointment of 269 teachers in primary schools aided or headed by the TMC government and asked him to step down from the post.
Accused in ED custody
Both the accused were taken into ED custody on July 23, after the agency recovered Rs. 21 crore in cash from Mukherjee's Tollygunge home. In an 18-hour long raid on Wednesday, the ED recovered another Rs. 29 crore from her second home. Mukherjee reportedly told ED that her house was used as a 'mini-bank'. Both the accused will be in custody till August 3.
Chatterjee arrested in the case
To recall, Chatterjee was arrested on Saturday after 27 hours of questioning as part of a probe into the multi-crore teacher recruitment scam. Jobs were offered in lieu of money, and the scam reportedly took place during Chatterjee's tenure as the Education Minister. There have been reports of alleged irregularities in appointing teaching and non-teaching staff in government schools.