Government Railway Police personnel in West Bengal’s Asansol railway station have arrested two people with suspected links to the Bharatiya Janata Party after they were found to be carrying Rs 1 crore in cash in violation of the Model Code of Conduct, reports said on Monday. The arrests were made the day before, and on Monday a court in the city remanded the two to four days of police custody.
One of the accused is state BJP President Dilip Ghosh’s former personal assistant Gautam Chatterjee, Hindustan Times reported. The newspaper identified the other accused as Delhi resident Lakshmikanta Shaw, who claimed to have led volunteers who had signed up for the saffron party’s “Save Bengal” campaign. Shaw said he had set up base in Ghosh’s constituency in West Medinipur district. “The money belonged to the BJP and was to be used in the elections,” Hindustan TImes quoted Shaw as saying.
According to the Election Commission’s rules, people cannot transport more than Rs 50,000 cash without requisite documents when the poll code is in place.
Dilip Ghosh denied he knew Shaw but said that he was in contact with Chatterjee. He said he had nothing to do with the money recovered by the police. “He [Chatterjee] used to work with me but now he is engaged in other work,” said the state BJP chief. “He is still with us [BJP] but not directly working with me. However, we are in touch. I had no contact with him yesterday and will have to inquire about the incident to know what exactly happened, whose money it was and where was it going.”
The BJP state chief said he would share details after making necessary inquiries. “Too many conspiracies are being hatched around and no definitive comment can be made before we get to know further,” Ghosh added.
On May 9, the West Bengal Police seized Rs 1.13 lakh in cash from the vehicle of BJP’s Ghatal candidate and former Indian Police Service officer Bharati Ghosh. The state chief electoral officer then sent a report to the Election Commission of India on the matter. Ghosh was reportedly detained by the police for four hours.