Five Bengal BJP workers arrested in ‘cut money’ row
The BJP leadership has claimed that the charges are concocted and its supporters were framed for resisting sale of sand collected illegally from the bed of the Ajoy river.Updated: Jul 04, 2019, 16:54 IST
At a time when Bengal is witnessing public outrage against lower rung Trinamool Congress leaders who allegedly extorted money from beneficiaries of state-funded welfare schemes for the poor, five BJP workers were arrested in Birbhum district on Wednesday for allegedly demanding Rs 10 lakh from a businessman.
The BJP leadership has claimed that the charges are concocted and its supporters were framed for resisting sale of sand collected illegally from the bed of the Ajoy river. Uttam Mandal, the businessman based in Birbhum’s Ilambazar area, is involved in digging the river bed with permission from the government.
Among those arrested is Shambhunath Mandal, president of the scheduled caste cell of the BJP Birbhum unit. The others are Shambhunath Mandal, Jiban Kumar Ghosh, Ashis Ghosh, Ranjit Bairagya and Nikhil Bairagya. They were produced before a court in Bolpur on Wednesday and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
“The five men were arrested on charges of issuing threats and attempting extortion,” Firoj Pal, the government pleader, said.
“There are many sand quarries in the Jaidev and Illambazar areas of Birbhum. Some people are using their proximity to TMC leaders to collect more sand illegally. Our men resisted that,” said Shibdas Gharui, a BJP leader in Illambazar.
Uttam Mandal claimed that the BJP supporters threatened him and stopped a vehicle that was carrying sand. “They demanded Rs 10 lakh,” he said. Mandal lodged a police complaint on Tuesday.
“BJP workers are involved in extortion in many parts of Birbhum. The real character of BJP has been exposed,” Fazlul Rahaman, a TMC leader in Ilambazar, said.