Arpita Mukherjee’s life under threat; food, water must be tested: ED tells court   

Arpita Mukherjee, the suspected “close associate” of dismissed Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, may be in danger of losing her life, the ED informed a special court on Friday.

The court had placed the pair in judicial custody for 14 days in the Bengal scam case. As part of the security measures mandated by the court, model-actor Arpita’s attorney asked that the food and drink provided to her while she was detained be inspected.

“We have come to know from intelligence input that Arpita Mukherjee has specific threat perception but there is no threat perception in the case of Partha Chatterjee,” ED’s counsel told the court.

“On November 1, 2012, Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee entered into partnership and formed a company. We have also been enquiring whether this firm was also involved in money laundering or not. We have also recovered phone data for a few periods that need to be confronted by Partha Chatterjee. So we request the court to send them to judicial custody,” ED’s lawyer said.

“As many as 50 accounts are under scrutiny. Arpita Mukherjee should be given food and water after testing in jail,” ED told the court.

The Alipore Women’s Correctional Home was ordered by the court to provide a report on the security arrangements for Arpita by August 18. She was detained by the ED until Friday after being arrested on July 23 only hours apart along with ex-minister Chatterjee.

A separate room, a bed, a chair, a table, and other amenities would be available to Arpita if she were treated as “a division I jail inmate,” according to her attorney, who appealed for this treatment.

He did not submit a petition for bail. While Arpita was cooperative, according to ED authorities, Chatterjee was in “denial mode” for the whole of his 12-day detention. The ED raided Arpita’s home many times before and after her arrest, seizing about Rs 50 crore in cash along with thousands of dollars’ worth of valuables and foreign money from two residences in Kolkata.

ED attorneys requested judicial detention for the pair and informed the court that more than 50 bank accounts thought to be connected to the cash-for-jobs money trail were being checked. It is permitted to interview them once more in custody by the court. The former minister was begged for release by Chatterjee’s attorney, who said that the man was “even ready to resign as MLA and wouldn’t abscond.” “There was no recovery of cash or valuables from his residence. He has been framed,” the counsel said.

The bail motion was denied by the judge.