Arrested director of the tainted Saradha Group Debjani Mukherjee was just an employee of the firm and has been framed, her cousin Arpita Mukherjee claimed on Wednesday. Arpita spoke to the media in Kishenji style, with her head covered with a dupatta and her back to the camera.
The statement comes a day after Saradha chairman and managing director Sen was arrested from a resort in Sonamarg where he was hiding with Mukherjee and another company official Arvind Chauhan. Debjani holds a Masters’ degree in English literature and had received flight attendant training.
Arpita, however, could not properly explain Mukherjee’s meteoric rise from a mere receptionist to an executive director of the company as well as her lavish lifestyle, which included an expensive car and plush apartment.
Debjani and her parents moved into their luxurious 48, Dhakuria Station Road flat one and a half years ago. Arpita first said that the flat was a gift from Saradha, but later claimed that money was being deducted from Debjani’s salary to pay for the flat. She also revealed that Debjani owned just one car, a Maruti Swift, but couldn’t say whether it was also a gift.
“Debjani was a ‘mere’ employee and did what she was told to do. She did not control anything. The only one in control was Suditpa Sen,” said Arpita.
She worked at Lincolns High School run by Saradha Group in Siliguri, and was being paid a salary of R10,000 plus. Arpita, however, couldn’t throw any light on what salary Debjani used to get.
Arpita asserted that her sister did not flee, rather she had gone to Delhi to attend an official meeting.
“I’m not sure of the date, but it was either April 10 or 11. She took the 11.30 pm flight to Delhi where Sudipta Sen had called her,” Arpita said, adding, that the last time the family had spoken to Debjani was after she reached the capital. However, police claim that Debjani travelled by car with Sen to Ranchi and then to Sonamarg. Arpita even said that a member of the family had dropped Debjani to the airport.
Before leaving, Debjani had said that she would return to Kolkata by April 15. When the family failed to hear from her by that time, they immediately contacted their lawyer. When asked why they didn’t register a missing persons report with the police, Arpita said that by then the police had already been in touch with the family.
Debjani’s lawyer Abhishek Mukherjee reportedly received a call from her at 6.27 pm on April 22. She was apparently crying on the phone but could not say where she was calling from. She could only say that she was using a hotel boy’s phone to make the call and requested him not to call her back.
According to Abhishek Mukherjee, it seemed that Debjani wanted to surrender but was forced to stay at Sonamarg. The questions that are still doing the rounds are if Debjani had resigned from her post in January, then how could she be attending an official meeting in Delhi. Later in the evening, her lawyer Abhisekh said that even the family members didn’t know whether her resignation was accepted. Arpita, on the otherhand, said that although Debjani had tendered her resignation it had not been accepted, so she was still technically on the company’s payroll.