Delhi, Assam police ‘stop’ Bengal CID teams probing Jharkhand MLAs case

Published on Aug 03, 2022 05:07 PM IST

In a tweet, the Bengal CID said their team was stopped from doing lawful duty and this will lead to the disappearance of crucial evidence

The MLAs were arrested on July 31. (PTI)
The MLAs were arrested on July 31. (PTI)

The Delhi Police allegedly stopped a West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) team from searching the home of a suspect in connection with the case involving the three arrested Congress legislators from Jharkhand. The three, Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachhap, and Naman Bixal, were arrested in West Bengal’s Howrah on July 31 with 49 lakh cash.

A second CID team was allegedly detained soon after it landed in Guwahati to get footage showing the three reaching the Assam capital on July 29 and leaving on July 30.

Officials said the first CID team in Delhi carried a search warrant issued by the chief judicial magistrate of Howrah to search the residence of Sidharth Majumder.

A Bengal CID officer said that Majumdar, a businessman, is suspected to have fixed appointments of the three with “some important people in Assam.”

“We suspect 49 lakh which the MLAs received through share broker Mahendra Agarwal in Kolkata on July 30 was part of a big consignment that was promised to them when they flew to Guwahati from Kolkata on July 29 and returned the next day,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.

A member of the CID team in Delhi said the local police cited technical grounds to stop them from searching Majumder’s residence. “The local police initially cooperated and accompanied us to the suspect’s residence but after a while, they said we have to leave because the investigating officer (IO) of the case, in whose name the warrant is issued, was not present,” said Arijit Bhattacharya, a CID officer leading the team. “We explained the IO issued an authorisation letter since he cannot physically visit all locations during a probe. We were not allowed to search the premises.”

An additional director general of police and two deputy inspector generals were rushing to the national capital. In a tweet, the Bengal CID said their team was stopped from doing lawful duty and this will lead to the disappearance of crucial evidence.

The investigators said the Congress legislators spent around 50 minutes at a hotel in Kolkata on July 30 hours after returning from Guwahati. The CID suspects they received the money during these 50 minutes. CCTV camera footage collected from the hotel purportedly showed a man leaving the premises on a scooter and returning after some time with a bag.

CID officers suspect the man went to meet Agarwal and returned with the money. The legislators, who have been remanded in the CID’s custody for 10 days, claimed they brought the money from Jharkhand to buy sarees for distribution at an upcoming tribal festival. The Congress has suspended the three lawmakers and accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of trying to topple Jharkhand’s coalition government.

Investigators raided Agarwal’s office in Kolkata on Tuesday and recovered 3.5 lakh in cash and some silver coins. He was arrested on Wednesday. Agarwal was taken to a hospital for a check-up and was there till the afternoon.

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    Tanmay Chatterjee has spent more than three decades covering regional and national politics, internal security, intelligence, defence and corruption. He also plans and edits special features on subjects ranging from elections to festivals.

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