‘Sacks disappear’ from farmhouse tied to Partha Chatterjee
An alleged theft in a farmhouse linked to former minister Partha Chatterjee at a village in Baruipur, South 24-Parganas, in the small hours of Thursday led police in several districts to increase vigil in areas which have properties allegedly owned by his close aides, including Arpita Mukherjee.
Two stuffed sacks were reportedly taken by “thieves” from the farmhouse, but it is not clear what they contained.
The farmhouse at Punri village under Baruipur police station jurisdiction has been linked to Chatterjee. Sources said on paper, the property belongs to a close relative of his.
Punri residents said a group of four people arrived at the farmhouse in a car around 1am on Thursday, broke into the property and took away two sacks filled with unidentified items. A villager, who spotted the four persons, claimed that when he began to shout to gather more people, he faced threats.
“I woke up hearing some noise near my window and saw four men in black shirts emerging from the farmhouse with two sacks. They loaded the sacks in a car and fled. I started shouting but it was too late. One of them asked me to keep shut,” said Jahangir Sheikh, a villager whose home is near the farmhouse.
On Thursday morning, villagers found that the door of the farmhouse was broken. A team of Baruipur police recovered a small LPG cylinder and a few articles from a ground near the farmhouse.
Police, however, are yet to start a case of theft. “We did not receive a complaint in that connection so far. There is no official information on such an incident,” said SDPO, Baruipur, Indra Badan Jha.
The alleged theft prompted the Opposition to accuse Trinamul of trying to destroy evidence related to the SSC scam.
“It was no theft but Trinamul’s attempt with help of police and government (officials) to take away valuable documents from that house. It was a move to destroy evidence related to the scam,” said CPM veteran Sujan Chakraborty.
Local Trinamul leaders said the incident had no link with their party.
During its probe, the enforcement directorate (ED) had stumbled on documents of properties owned by Chatterjee and his close associates, including Mukherjee, in Birbhum, Jhargram, South 24-Parganas and Calcutta.
“We can’t arrange separate security for all the houses till the investigating agency approaches us or the owners do. But we are keeping a close vigil by increasing police patrolling in those pockets. As huge sums of cash are being recovered from houses belonging to Arpita Mukherjee, thieves may target them,” said a senior police officer.
Sources said Chatterjee, along with Mukherjee, used to visit at least seven houses and a guest house in Santiniketan. Birbhum police have asked Santiniketan police station to step up vigil on roads adjacent to the houses.“We don’t want to take any chances,” said a police officer in Birbhum.
Jhargram police stepped up vigil around a farmhouse linked to Chatterjee.