Pronab Bhattacharya arrived at his workplace in Diamond City South as usual at 11:30 a.m. on July 22. The show he encountered ultimately resulted in his losing his job and not receiving that month’s salary. A dozen officers from the Enforcement Department were introduced into the apartment of his employer, Arpita Mukherjee.
This was the first raid by the Directorate of Law Enforcement on a property owned by Mukherjee in the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment scam case. Two more are said to follow at other properties, leading to the seizure of around Rs 50 crore in cash as well as gold bars and coded ornaments, documents and diaries.
Pronab Bhattacharya has been working as a driver for Arpita Mukherjee for seven months. With his employer, an aide to the sacked Trinamool Congress minister, Partha Chatterjee, under arrest with him, Bhattacharya is in shock about the future.
Seven months ago, in a frantic search for a job, Bhattacharya landed at the Partha Chatterjee constituency office. He spent days trying to meet the minister and one day succeeded. He told Chatterjee he needed a job and said he could work as a driver.
“A few days later, I received a call from the gentleman’s office. The person on the other end of the line said sir would talk to me. Then Partha Chatterjee sir told me to join Diamond City South the next day. For me, it was a great opportunity. I joined the post,” Bhattacharya told News18.
He joined in January and says that for the past seven months he has driven Arpita Mukherjee, mostly in his three salons. Bhattacharya said that often after work, Mukherjee used to visit Partha Chatterjee’s residence.
“She used to go to her living room and after work she used to go sometimes to Partha Chatterjee’s residence. I used to leave the car at Chatterjee’s and drive home.
Pronab Bhattacharya described his employer as a reserved person who did not talk much on the phone even when traveling. He revealed that a Mercedes Benz and another Honda City were parked at Mukherjee’s residence, but she never gave him the keys to those cars. He also talked about another apartment in Diamond City South to only house dogs.
He said that when Arpita Mukherjee visited his Shantiniketan home with his mother and sister, they were not accompanied by Chatterjee.
On the day his job was jeopardized, ED officials asked Bhattacharya to sit on the balcony and his phone was also taken away. He said he was “shaking” when the silver fell.
“ED officials took care of the money so I also stayed there for a whole day. They were questioning madam and madam seemed upset. I’m shocked. How is it possible… so much money?
His cell phone is still in the emergency department. He says he was asked to pick it up but officials weren’t present when he went there.
It is a cruel irony that banknotes worth millions were seized from his employer’s home, but Bhattacharya has not yet been paid and, to make matters worse, lost his job.
With the responsibility of his mother, wife and family on him, Pronab will now have to look for a new job. But it is his last that he says he will never forget.
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