A model-cum-actor, who only a few knew until yesterday, has exploded into the limelight. Arpita Mukherjee, whom the Enforcement Directorate has described as a “close associate” of West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee, is an actor who has done minor roles in a few Bengali, Odia and Tamil films.
Her Facebook bio reads, “A multi-talented, versatile actor, having worked in several films in Tollywood.”
In one of the pictures going viral on social media, Arpita Mukherjee can be seen posing with the high-profile industry minister, Partha Chatterjee, in colour-coordinated costumes and looking like a couple.
Partha in a red matka silk kurta and designer dhoti is seated on a chair and Arpita in heavy red silk and gold jewelery standing beside him looked straight out of the pages of a family album of yesteryear. It appeared as a picture of a public declaration of their status, nothing to be coy or ashamed of.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday morning arrested West Bengal industry and commerce minister Partha Chatterjee in connection with its investigation into the alleged teacher recruitment scam. Later in the day, his close associate Arpita Mukherjee was also arrested.
THE HARPITA SAGA
Mukherjee’s name was first heard in the power corridors way back in May 2012 when Chatterjee took a business trip to Singapore as an industry minister. There was a buzz in the Writer’s Buildings, then state headquarters, that chief minister Mamata Banerjee was unhappy with Partha. According to the grapevine, Partha had allegedly flown in his close friend, a model-cum-actor, to Singapore. It was then Arpita Mukherjee came to be known in political circles as a good friend of Partha.
As far information goes, Mukherjee has acted in two Bengali films —Mama Bhagne and partners in insignificant roles and a couple of Odiya films. Nobody knew which brand she endorsed except that she was the face of a billboard promoting Partha Chatterjee’s big budget Durga puja — Naktala Udayan Sangha community puja.
HER LIFE AND CAREER
Arpita Mukherjee comes from a middle-class family of Dewanpara in Belghoria. After her father, a central government employee, passed away, she was offered a post in his office. But she had other plans. As a college student, she was into modeling and was aiming to make a career in the film industry. Her close friend of her from college, Soumyen Ray, who knew her from 2002, said she was ambitious and a go-getter.
According to inside sources, Mukherjee was married to a Jhargram-based businessman. But she left him to build a career in Kolkata. She probably got introduced to Partha through a fixer in the business circle. She started modeling for Naktala Udayan Sangha’s puja committee and became its brand ambassador. In fact, she was once seen to be sharing podium with Mamata Banerjee when the latter came to inaugurate the club’s Durga Puja.
UNDER ED SCANNER
According to the grapevine, Partha was allegedly pampering his close friend with wealth in the form of multiple flats and jewellery. According to ED sources, the agency has got incriminating documents which show there are several properties in the nature of flats, independent houses and land, all allegedly linked to Mukherjee’s name.
Mukherjee lived in a 2,000 sq-ft area flat at Diamond City, south of the Tollygunje area of South Kolkata. The ED recovered cash worth Rs 21.20 crore, gold worth Rs 79 lakh, and foreign currency worth Rs 54 lakh.
Partha was a regular at Mukherjee’s Diamond City flat. A domestic help, Suchitra Pal, from the housing society where Arpita Mukherjee lives, has also claimed that Partha Chatterjee often visited this complex.
She had a lavish lifestyle; she frequented discotheques and hookah bars. Even word is around that some of Mukherjee’s foreign trips to Bangkok were allegedly funded by the high-profile minister.
Mukherjee’s mother, when asked about her daughter’s wealth, said she was unaware of what she did other than modeling.
Mukherjee is not the only close friend that Partha had. There are many more who could be on the radar. Even though friends had come and gone in Ella’s Partha’s life, Arpita stayed on and enjoyed the trappings power brought to her door by Ella.
Also Read: More cash counting machines land at house of Partha Chatterjee’s aide Arpita | Video
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