Three Jharkhand MLAs and two other persons were arrested on Sunday after the West Bengal Police seized ₹49 lakh cash from the vehicle in which they were travelling. The MLAs, who have been remanded to 10-day police custody by a court in Howrah, will be interrogated by the CID.
“Following a specific input, we intercepted a vehicle with a huge amount of money. Three Jharkhand MLAs were in the car,” Howrah Rural Superintendent Swati Bhangalia said on Saturday. The other two persons arrested were the driver of the vehicle and a close aide of the MLAs.
Irfan Ansari from Jamtara assembly constituency, Rajesh Kachhap from Khijri (Scheduled Tribe) assembly constituency and Naman Bixal Kongari from Kolebira (Scheduled Tribe) assembly constituency were the three MLAs arrested. The accused, who were travelling in Ansari’s vehicle, were detained and questioned at the Panchla police station on Saturday night.
During interrogation, the MLAs told the police that the cash was meant for purchasing sarees from the renowned wholesale market at Burrabazar in central Kolkata for tribals, police sources told ET.
The MLAs have also claimed that they went to Guwahati to enquire about the school admission of the son of one of the MLAs, sources said. However, they failed to produce any document in this connection. The West Bengal Police and CID found several inconsistencies while quizzing the three MLAs, following which they were arrested on Sunday afternoon.
Trinamool Lok Sabha MP Saugata Ray said: “I think there is an attempt to topple the Jharkhand government. They are part of the conspiracy.”