Once Mamata Banerjee’s close aide, IPS officer Bharati Ghosh now accused of extortion, forgery
The West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday submitted the chargesheet against former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, accusing her of extortion, forgery and criminal conspiracy, and labelling her an absconder.Updated: Jun 30, 2018 14:07 IST
The West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday submitted the chargesheet against former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, accusing her of extortion, forgery and criminal conspiracy, and labelling her an absconder.
Notably, Ghosh, earlier the superintendent of police of West Midnapore district, was once a close confidante of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
The chargesheet was submitted in a court in in Ghatal West Midnapore district in connection with an extortion case lodged at Daspur police station in the district in February this year. Nine people, including Ghosh, her husband and four police officers, are accused in the case.
Though the four police officers, regarded close to Ghosh, were arrested in the case, the former IPS officer has managed to elude police. Her husband MV Raju, who lives in Kolkata, was questioned by officials several times.
The nine were booked under sections 384 (punishment for extortion), 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion), 389 (putting person in fear of accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion), 119 (public servant concealing design to commit offence which it is his duty to prevent), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code, and Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
“Bharati Ghosh’s name was not present in the police complaint lodged by Chandan Maji. But the officers, who were arrested and interrogated, admitted that they all committed the acts under the instruction of Ghosh, who was then the superintendent of district police. A huge amount of gold and cash were found from the residences of Ghosh and her husband. So the duo were named in the chargesheet,” said a CID officer on conditions of anonymity.
Forensic evidence and statements of witnesses were attached with the chargesheet.
When in good terms, Ghosh had once described Mamata in a public meeting as the mother of Jangalmahal (the former Maoist-dominated districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) for ushering in peace in the area.
She, however, fell out with her later and resigned from service in December 2017 after being transferred as the commandant of State Armed Police.
On February 1, Chandan Maji, a resident of the district, lodged a complaint alleging a few police officers had taken 375 grams of gold from him and never paid him, nor returned him the metal.
The Ghatal court ordered an investigation that led the CID to arrest the four police officers. They are Pradip Rath (former officer-in-charge of Daspur police station), Chitta Pal (officer-in-charge of Ghatal police station), Suvankar Dey (circle inspector) and Debasish Das (assistant sub inspector). They are now out on bail.
The CID claimed that they found Rs 2.4 crore in cash and gold during the raids at premises allegedly owned by Ghosh, her husband and other police officers. Bimal Ghorai, a local businessman, and Rajmangal Singh, the caretaker of an apartment in Kolkata where Ghosh and Raju own flats, were also nabbed.
After the chargesheet, neither Ghosh nor Raju issued any statement.
Earlier, in an audio message circulated from an undisclosed location, Ghosh claimed, “The gold that I possess was declared before I joined the police force. My father, a zamindar of Madhupur, gifted me the gold at the time of my marriage. The CID is trying to malign me under instructions from the state government.”
Maji’s complaint was that some policemen and a Daspur resident, allegedly sent by Ghosh, took 375 grams of gold from him after demonetisation in November 2016, promising to pay him a sum higher than its value, in demonetised notes. But the money was never paid.
On February 9, the court issued arrest warrants against Ghosh and her security person. But they remain untraced.