A special Enforcement Directorate court here on Wednesday rejected the bail applications of former minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee in the multi-crore West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam and sent them to another 14 days of judicial custody.
Both Chatterjee and Mukherjee appeared for the hearing in a virtual mode form the respective correctional homes where they are currently housed and judge Jiban Kumar Sandhu ruled that both will appear for the next hearing on September 14 in virtual mode only.
Counsel for both Chatterjee and Mukherjee made the argument that their clients are keen to appear for physical hearing and not allowing that means infringement in their personal liberties. However, Justice Sandhu ruled that virtual appearance in hearing does not hamper personal liberty at any cost.
Chatterjee's counsel, Haradhan Bandopadhyay moved the bail plea on health and age- related grounds. He also argued that the investigation agency has no proof that the cash and property documents recovered in the case belonged to Chatterjee. He also argued that his client is even willing to remain under house arrest.
However, ED's counsel Phiroze Edulji, in his counter argument said the different life insurance policies held by Mukherjee with Chatterjee as the nominee are clear proof of the link between the two. He also pointed out that although the life insurance policies were held by Mukherjee, the premium payments were debited from the bank account of Chatterjee. In the policy documents, Chatterjee had been referred to as the uncle of Mukherjee, Edulji pointed out.
He also referred Chatterjee as an influential person and hence he would not be granted bail at any cost. "The hospital reports that his counsel is quoting were supposed to reach the court only. But those reports reached Chatterjee. This proves how influential he is," he argued.
Finally, after hearing both sides, the judge rejected the bail pleas and extended their judicial custody.