Gold, Rs 28 crore in cash found at apartment linked to Bengal minister

Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has recovered Rs 27.9 crore in cash, besides a massive amount of gold jewellery from an apartment linked to Arpita Mukherjee, considered a close associate of arrested West Bengal Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee, officials said on Thursday morning.

The stacks of cash were recovered from the apartment in Belgharia on Wednesday, and after overnight counting, it amounted to Rs 27.90 crore, they said.

The investigators are still ascertaining the value of the gold jewellery, believed to be in kgs, they added.

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The money and gold were found five days after the agency seized more than Rs 21 crore in cash, besides jewellery and foreign exchange from another flat of Mukherjee in south Kolkata’s Tollygunge area, following which she was arrested.

In all, officials said nearly Rs 50 crore in cash has been seized so far.

ED officials on Wednesday conducted coordinated raids at various properties at Rajdanga in south Kolkata and Belgharia on the northern fringes of the city.

During questioning, Mukherjee informed the ED about those properties, officials said.

ED sleuths had to break open a door to get into the two flats in Belgharia’s Rathtala locality as the keys to open them could not be spotted, they said.

Several “vital” documents were also found in the flats during a search, the official said.

Chatterjee, a powerful minister in Mamata Banerjee’s government and the secretary-general of Trinamool Congress, was arrested on Saturday after the cash was found at Mukherjee’s Tollygunge flat.

The CBI, as directed by the Calcutta High Court, is probing the alleged irregularities committed in the recruitment of Group-C and D staff and teachers in government-sponsored and aided schools on recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC). The ED is tracking the money trail in the scam.

Chatterjee was the education minister when the alleged irregularities took place.

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