A court in Kolkata on Thursday rejected the bail petition of former West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee in a money laundering case, and remanded them to judicial custody till August 31.
Rejecting the bail, the court said that from the materials placed on record, it appeared the accused persons were involved in the commission of offence as alleged. The court order said: “Investigation is in process and progress. Allegations, as labelled against the accused person, are very serious in nature. Considering the fact, nature & gravity of offence and the initial stage of investigation the prayer for bail of the accused person is rejected.”
The court also allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to interrogate Mr. Chatterjee and his aide in judicial custody.
Mr. Chatterjee and Ms. Mukherjee were arrested by the ED on July 23 after over ₹50 crore cash and gold jewellery worth ₹4.5 crore was recovered from Ms. Mukherjee’s residence during searches in connection with the school service recruitment scam.
The advocates appearing for the ED said that the investigation conducted so far had revealed a number of bank accounts and companies that have been used to launder the proceeds of crime, and that the ED has traced 60 such bank accounts. They further submitted that crores of rupees had been credited to the bank accounts of bogus firms which exist merely on paper.
The advocate appearing for Mr. Chatterjee said that his client was 70 years old and suffering from a chronic illness requiring active medical intervention, and that his haemoglobin level is low and blood creatinine level is high.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chatterjee, who was produced in the court, said that the truth would emerge at a right time. “Nobody will be spared,” the former Trinamool Congress (TMC) heavyweight said in the courtroom.
Mr. Chatterjee was dumped by the TMC after his arrest, and stripped of his Ministerial and party responsibilities on July 28. Both the former Minister and his aide have said that the seized money does not belong to them.