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14-day judicial custody for Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee

Duo to be produced before the court on August 18

Our Bureau | Published 06.08.22, 06:09 AM
Partha Chatterjee and (left) Arpita Mukherjee at Joka ESI hospital on Friday.

Partha Chatterjee and (left) Arpita Mukherjee at Joka ESI hospital on Friday.

Bishwarup Dutta

Former education minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee were lodged in the Presidency Correctional Home and the Alipore Women’s Correctional Home respectively on Friday evening after the Bankshall court remanded the two to 14 days of judicial custody in connection with the Enforcement Department’s (ED) ongoing probe.

The central investigating agency has been probing into the alleged corruption in school recruitments during Partha’s earlier stint as Bengal’s education minister. 

The two would be produced before the court on August 18. 

Chatterjee and Mukherjee have been in ED’s custody since their arrest on July 23.

A 14-day judicial remand along with rights for judicial interrogation was sought by the central agency citing that they needed to investigate and find out who others were involved in the generation, handling and transfer of proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 49.8 crore that was seized from Mukherjee’s flats during raids. 

While pleading for Chatterjee’s bail, lawyers representing the former minister told the court that the 72-year-old leader was ready to resign as the MLA to do away with the “influential” tag that the ED has slapped on him.

Chatterjee’s lawyers argued that he has been stripped of his ministerial berth and the party has suspended him from all posts. There was little chance for the man to run away given his failing health, which requires continuous monitoring.   

The central agency opposed Chatterjee’s bail on the ground that the former minister remains an “influential” person and several strands linked to him still need to be probed into. 

Chatterjee’s lawyers also told the court that he did not have any relationship with Mukherjee and the joint property deeds that ED claimed to have found, were “only photocopies and subject to verification”. 

Lawyers representing ED said documents seized from Mukherjee revealed how the former minister was closely associated with her and bail at this point would come in the way of the investigation.  

The court after listening to both the parties rejected the bail petition of both and sent them to judicial remand. The court directed the superintendent of the Alipore Women’s Correctional Home to ensure Mukherjee’s complete security during her stay and sought a report about it on August 18. Later, Chatterjee refused to get off the prison van after it reached Presidency correctional home, said the police.

He sat in the van for an hour and stepped out around 8pm. Chatterjee was lodged inside cell number two.

Last updated on 06.08.22, 06:09 AM
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