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Money transferred to beauty salons in Bengal teachers scam, finds ED probe

Money transferred to beauty salons in Bengal teachers scam, finds ED probe

Kolkata: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing the money-trail angle in the multi-crore teachers' recruitment scam in West Bengal has found that bank accounts registered in the names of some beauty salons were used to divert the proceeds of crime.

The central agency sleuths while checking the transaction details of arrested youth Trinamool Congress leader, Kuntal Ghosh came across certain transactions from these accounts, which showed that an amount of Rs 50 lakh was transferred in phases to different bank accounts of one, Soma Chakraborty.

Initially, the investigating officials thought that these were personal bank accounts of the woman, but later it was revealed that these accounts were registered in the names of a couple of beauty salons owned by her.

Last week, Chakraborty was summoned to ED's office at the central government office (CGO) complex at Salt Lake in the northern outskirts of Kolkata, and she was asked to come for questioning along with all her bank account details.

During the interrogation by the central agency sleuths, the sources said that Chakraborty claimed that the amount of Rs 50 lakh transferred to her bank accounts in phases were actually loans given to her by Kuntal Ghosh for further development and upgradation of the salons owned by her.

However, sources added, that later when the ED sleuths closely scrutinized the bank account details of Chakraborty, they noticed that the amounts transferred to her account from Ghosh's account, were retransferred to different bank accounts within a day or at times within hours from the time of transfer.

"This cycle of transfers and quick retransfers of amounts have made us believe that the accounts registered in the names of these beauty salons acted as a medium to convert the unaccounted proceeds of the scam as accounted ones. We are now tracking the details of those accounts where the money was retransferred and we are quite sure that the accounts were either held by the relatives or close confidants of Kuntal Ghosh," an ED associate said.

This is not the first time that the theory of beauty salon nexus has surfaced in the teachers' recruitment irregularity scam.

Arpita Mukherjee, the close associate of former West Bengal education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee, from whose residences huge cash and gold were recovered by the ED in July last year, also owned a number of nail-art parlors, where huge money were invested from various sources. Both Arpita Mukherjee and Partha Chatterjee are in judicial custody now.

With inputs from agencies

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