Assam police detain businessman, unable to question him: Bengal CID | Latest India News
A West Bengal police team was unable to meet and question a Guwahati businessman suspected of providing seized money to three Jharkhand Congress lawmakers arrested on July 31 because people at the Inside his house, which was guarded by armed Assam police, refused to open the door.
“A team went to Ashok Dhanuka’s residence in Guwahati, but the people inside the house refused to open the door. The house was guarded by Assam police officers armed with automatic rifles,” a Criminal Investigations Department officer said.
“Before leaving, the team stuck a notice on the door asking Dhanuka to report to CID headquarters in Kolkata on Monday at 10 a.m.,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.
Assam Police officials did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
This is the third time that the CID has encountered difficulties in carrying out the investigation since the arrest of Jamtara lawmaker Irfan Ansari, Khijri MP Rajesh Kachhap and Kolebira MP Naman Bixal in Howrah district of Bengal. western. They were arrested on July 30 and interrogated overnight before being taken into custody.
A sum of ₹49 lakh in cash was found in the Ansari car in which the deputies were traveling. Although lawmakers claimed to have brought the money from Jharkhand to buy sarees at a wholesale market in Kolkata to distribute at a tribal festival, CID officers said they found discrepancies in their statements.
Investigation revealed that the trio flew to Guwahati on July 29 and returned to Kolkata on July 30, when the money was allegedly handed over to them at a hotel.
The investigation took a new turn on August 3 when two CID teams were reportedly arrested by police in Delhi and Assam.
The CID team in Delhi was armed with a search warrant issued by the Chief Magistrate of Howrah District to search the residence of Sidharth Majumder, a businessman, at Moti Bagh South in Chanakyapuri. The CID suspects Majumdar of having arranged meetings between Ansari, Kachhap and Bixal and “an important person in Assam”.
Local police cited technical reasons while preventing him from searching Majumder’s residence, said Arijit Bhattacharya, additional officer in charge, CID, who led the team in Delhi.
In a similar development, a second CID team was reportedly detained by Assam police shortly after landing at Guwahati airport to collect security camera footage showing the three MPs reaching the state capital on 29 July and leaving on July 30. It is alleged that the Assam government cars were sent to the airport.
Ansari claimed during questioning that he had traveled to Guwahati to speak to a school administration about his son’s admission, but other lawmakers could offer no plausible explanation, CID officials said.
Suspended by Congress on July 31 and accused of accepting money from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to help it topple the Jharkhand-led Mukti Morcha coalition government, MPs earlier called for a reprieve from investigation by the CID and referral of the case to the CBI or other central investigating agency.
The Calcutta High Court dismissed both appeals on August 4, saying the defendants could not choose the investigative agencies. The court also observed that the CID had full authority to conduct the investigation since the money was seized from the vehicle in which the deputies were traveling in West Bengal.
The CID questioned Kolkata-based stockbroker Mahendra Agarwal, who is suspected of handing over the money to a messenger sent by the MPs on July 30 while they were sitting in a restaurant on Sudder Street in Kolkata . They briefly used a room in the hotel located inside the same campus, but their names were not entered into the hotel registry.
Agarwal claimed during his interrogation that someone gave him a bag, saying that it should be handed over to deputies. He also claimed that he did not know what was in the bag.
“He said the bag was kept in his office at Bikaner building in Lalbazar, central Kolkata. He said he got a call from Guwahati,” said a CID officer who did not want to be identified.