Bengal CID summons IPS officer Bharati Ghosh for questioning in extortion case

Ghosh’s husband has moved the Calcutta high court to seek a CBI probe into the raids conducted on their properties.

kolkata Updated: Feb 05, 2018 20:34 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
CID,West Bengal,Mamata Banerjee
Former IPS office Bharati Ghosh was once considered close to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (in pic). (PTI File)

Trouble continued to dog former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh on Monday, with the state Crime Investigation Department (CID) summoning her for questioning in an extortion case.

The summons served by the investigation unit asked Ghosh – a police officer once close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee – to present herself at its headquarters as soon as possible. MAV Raju, Ghosh’s husband, moved the Calcutta high court later that day to seek a CBI probe into the raids conducted on their properties.

Nishad Parvez, deputy inspector general (CID), said the raids were being conducted on the basis of a court order in an extortion case filed by a jewellery merchant. “We found several crucial documents bearing Bharati Ghosh’s signature,” he said, adding that Rs 60 lakh in cash and over two kg of gold were also recovered from the properties searched. The gold was allegedly purchased after the demonetisation exercise conducted by the Modi government last November.

Rajmangal Singh, the caretaker of several apartments allegedly owned by Ghosh in Madurdaha, was arrested on Monday. He was then produced before a court in Ghatal, West Midnapore.

The raids on properties owned by Ghosh, her husband and relatives across West Midnapore and Kolkata began on February 1. The homes of a couple of police officers reportedly close to the former IPS officer were also searched.

So far, Ghosh has avoided any contact with the media, save for a Whatsapp voice message denying all the charges for which she and her family members were being “victimised”. She also vowed to take “all legal steps available to a citizen” after returning to Kolkata.

A lot has happened since Ghosh, a controversial police officer, praised Banerjee as “the mother of Maoist-dominated Jangalmahal” at a public meeting in 2016. During her tenure as the West Midnapore superintendent of police, she had even faced criticism from Opposition leaders for “falsely implicating” them in criminal cases at the behest of the Trinamool Congress.

Things, however, changed after the bypoll to the Sabang assembly seat in December. Although Trinamool won by a landslide, cornering more than 50% votes, district leaders complained that Ghosh was still close to former party general secretary Mukul Roy.

Roy had joined hands with the BJP in November.

Opposition leaders have begun targeting the ruling party in light of the recent developments. “If the supremo doubts your loyalty, be prepared for all kinds of nonsense. But you are free to indulge in all kinds of nonsense as long as your loyalty is not questioned. It is time for loyalists to revolt,” Dr Surya Kanta Mishra, CPI(M) politburo member and state secretary, tweeted.

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 20:34 IST