West Bengal CID claimed that two of its teams in New Delhi and Guwahati were restrained on Wednesday morning by the local police in the respective places from carrying out investigations into the cash seizure from three Jharkhand MLAs.
A senior officer of the probe agency alleged that their officers were detained by Delhi Police when they were conducting a raid at a property belonging to an accused, a close associate of the three arrested MLAs, in the national capital.
Three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand — Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari were arrested by the West Bengal Police after over Rs 49 lakh in cash was seized from a car in which they were travelling.
“On Wednesday morning, a team of West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers was restrained by Delhi Police from carrying out a search operation at a property of an accused person closely associated with one of the MLAs arrested in the cash seizure case despite having a court warrant,” the CID officer told PTI.
The Delhi Police, which functions under the central government, later said that it had provided all assistance to the CID team before it found certain “legal discrepancies” in the execution of the search warrant. About the detention of the police personnel in Assam, the CID officer said talks are on with the authorities in the BJP-ruled North-eastern state.
Four CID officers an inspector and ASI each and two SIs — were detained and restrained from conducting searches at the accused’s residence under South Campus Police Station area in New Delhi despite having a court warrant, a senior CID officer said. The West Bengal government later sent a team of three senior officers — one ADG and two IG rank officers — to Delhi to resolve the matter, an official in the state Home Department said.
“The case involves seizure of huge cash from 3 MLAs of Jharkhand. Detaining & preventing the CID WB team to conduct lawful search will lead to disappearance of crucial evidence by the suspects responsibility of which will lie on the DP officers who prevented the search. @CPDelhi,” the CID tweeted.
This restraining by the police in the national capital is illegal,” the CID officer claimed. Later, Delhi Police issued a statement asserting that it initially provided all assistance to West Bengal Police for the execution of the search warrant. However, legal discrepancies were noticed during execution of the same.
Accordingly, legal opinion was sought which revealed that the warrant is not executable. Hence, the same was conveyed to WB Police,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (southwest) Manoj C was quoted as saying in the statement.
Another team of CID officers were detained at the Guwahati airport soon after they landed there to collect CCTV footage of the three MLAs reaching the Assam capital on July 29 and leaving the next day. “We have taken up the matter with the Assam Police. The discussion is still on. Hopefully, something will soon come out,” the officer told PTI.
On Wednesday morning, CID sleuths arrested businessman Mahendra Agarwal, who had allegedly supplied the seized cash to the three MLAs, from in front of his residence, The CID has claimed that the cash seized from the three MLAs was delivered to them by Agarwal through hawala. On Tuesday, the agency detectives raided Agarwal’s office at Lalbazar area in Kolkata and seized Rs 3 lakh in cash, several bank passbooks and around 250 silver coins.
Agarwal had been absconding since the arrest of the three MLAs. The Congress, which is a part of the JMM-led government in Jharkhand, has alleged that the BJP was trying to topple the Hemant Soren government by offering Rs 10 crore each and a ministerial berth to MLAs.
The party has also dragged the name of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the alleged conspiracy. The BJP, however, rejected the allegations claiming that the Congress was trying to hide its own corruption after the cash was found.