Enforcement Directorate officials on Monday claimed that had found at least one property along the EM Bypass that is owned jointly by arrested Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee and his alleged close associate Arpita Mukherjee.
Property and company deeds bearing Mukherjee’s name found at Chatterjee’s Naktala home had led the sleuths to the 39-year-old actress’s flat near Tollygunge.
ED sources said they were looking for “more concrete evidence” to suggest a direct link between the minister and the actress to establish the alleged money trail.
ED lawyers submitted before the court that the deed of conveyance of the property that is jointly owned by Chatterjee and Mukherjee dates back to 2012. “This only proves that their association goes back to at least 2012 and their financial and land interests have been converging since then,” the lawyer told the court .
ED officials had claimed to have unearthed over Rs 21 crore and jewellery worth several lakhs from Mukherjee’s Tollygunge flat.
ED sources said the building is located at Madurdaha in Anandapur on the city’s eastern fringes and had been rented out to a private organisation.
According to documents found by ED officers, the approximate value of the property was Rs 1.42 crore.
ED sources said while searching Mukherjee’s flat, officers had found a 40-page “black diary”. The seizure list submitted in court, officials said, mentions “Black Diary of Department of Higher Education and School Education, Govt. of West Bengal”.
“We have also found an envelope in Mukherjee’s possession that had printed on it ‘minister-in-charge, departments of higher education, school education, parliamentary affairs, government of West Bengal’, containing Rs 5 lakh,” said an ED officer.
The central agency claimed to have seized 70 cash memos of a nail salon run by Mukherjee. The salon is called “Nail Place”.
Sources said the primary objective of the ED’s probe was to find out about Mukherjee’s income from various sources and match it with the money that was found on her; the source of the income with which she had purchased 12 apartments across the city and was jointly owning two companies .
According to sources, till now, ED officers have not been able to find any concrete source of income that could justify the presence of more than Rs 21 crore in Mukherjee’s home.
ED officers said they have seized gold jewellery from her home and were now in process of finding out the mode of payment during their purchase.
“We are working on how the payments were made,” said an officer who is part of the probe team.
Sources said the ED officers had seized a 56-page photo album of one “Onkar Texo Park” — whose details the central agency officers were probing.
ED sources said 18-carat gold ornaments weighing 151.78 grams and 1270.3 grams of 22-carat gold jewellery had been formally seized from Mukherjee’s house.
“We have also found 12.6-carat diamonds from the house. The total worth of the seized jewellery is Rs 76.97 lakhs, whose source Mukherjee has not been able to explain till now,” the officer said.
ED officers said they were planning to interrogate Chatterjee and Mukherjee face to face, but have failed to do so in the last two days because of the minister’s health complaints.
He had to be sent to All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar, for a “neutral opinion”.
Enforcement Directorate lawyer Abhijit Bhadra said the prosecution lawyer had sought “prosecution against SSKM Hospital doctors” who had admitted the minister following his claims of illness and because of whom the government of India had to spend money on an air ambulance to fly the minister to Odisha.