New Delhi: Trinamool Congress leader and a trusted aide of Mamata Banerjee for many years – Partha Chatterjee is cooling his heels in ED custody after he was arrested in connection with West Bengal’s now infamous SSC recruitment scam.
So far, ED authorities have received huge amounts of cash from various spots. Of course, a substantial amount – around Rs 21 crore came from the flat of one little-known model and actress Arpita Mukherjee.
Arpita has one flat in the Haridebpur area of Kolkata. ED has already released the picture of stacks of cash which were recovered from there. Apart from cash, 20 mobile phones were also recovered from her house.
Reportedly, Arpita was into modelling and came in touch with the Trinamool leader a few years back when she was engaged as a model by a local club in Chatterjee’s neighbourhood during Durga Puja.
The ED suspects another woman in Partha Chatterjee’s life and corruption games. Her name is Monalisa Das, Head of Department of Bengali department in Kazi Nazrul Islam University in Asansol.
How these ladies have amassed such huge wealth have automatically fallen under ED scanner. Her Facebook describes Arpita Mukherjee as “a multi-talented versatile actor, having worked in several films in Tollywood.”
Arpita has acted in Bengali movies alongside Bengal superstars Prosenjit Chatterjee and also in a few Tamil and Odiya movies. Her mother stays in the ancestral house at Belgharia in North 24- Parganas while Arpita repotedly has another flat in a posh campus in Belgharia.
The ED has tracked at least 10 flats in Monalisa’s name. She joined Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol in 2014. Questions were raised about her appointment as a professor and it was alleged that perhaps Mamata Banerjee’s Man Friday, Partha Chatterjee, had helped her in that. It has to be probed how an educationist can have as many as 10 flats in her name including one at Santiniketan.
Reports also say in total as many 20 flats have been identified owned by Partha Chatterjee but in different names including a few in the name of his associates and relatives. One flat is named ‘Apa’ — supposed to be short form of Arpita Mukherjee.
In Santiniketan itself, the Trinamool Congress secretary general has about seven flats. Of course, in the 2021 assembly elections, Partha Chatterjee’s affidavits did not have any mention of these properties. His papers in total showed properties worth Rs 1.15 crore only, and this included cash, a modest amount of Rs 1.48 lakh.
Reports also say in Paschim Medinipur, he and his relatives have an English medium school in a spacious compound. This school is said to be in memory of Chatterjee’s wife, Babli Chatterjee.
Only the land price of the 15 Bigha area compound is estimated to be Rs 45 crore and allegedly entire amount was paid in cash. More importantly, such a huge amount of payment was made in 2016 and during the period when the demonetisation of high-value currency notes were enforced.
The SSC recruitment scam and the probe are bound to reflect a totally new chapter of West Bengal politics.