A West Bengal criminal investigation department (CID) team was allegedly “restrained” by Delhi police from executing a search warrant issued by a court in the cash seizure case involving Jharkhand MLAs with alleged BJP links.
Another CID team that went to Guwahati in connection with the same probe was allegedly detained by Assam police after it placed a requisition with airport officials for CCTV footage. A senior Guwahati police officer, however, denied having detained the West Bengal team.
The CID is probing the money trail following the seizure of ₹49 lakh from the boot of an SUV that had three Jharkhand MLAs inside. All three, from the Congress but allegedly part of an attempt by the BJP to topple the government in Jharkhand, are in West Bengal police custody now.
In Delhi, armed with a magistrate’s court warrant, the four-member CID team went to search the premises of businessman Sidharth Majumdar’s in upscale Chanakyapuri. Majumdar is allegedly the middleman who was making the deal with the three Jharkhand MLAs to topple the Jharkhand government.
After being allegedly prevented from searching Majumdar’s home, the CID sought the intervention of Delhi police commissioner Sanjay Arora.
A CID officer said the team had first gone to the local police station in Delhi and then headed towards Majumdar’s house along with two Delhi police constables. “After we reached the location a Delhi police SHO detained our team and brought us to South Campus police station,” the officer said.
The CID team waited at the police station till evening without any clarification from Delhi police.
News agency ANI quoted deputy commissioner Manoj C. as saying: “A West Bengal police team had arrived in Delhi for the execution of a search warrant. Delhi police provided all assistance. However, legal discrepancies were noticed and legal opinion was sought which revealed that the warrant is not executable. Hence, the same was conveyed to West Bengal police.”
A senior Delhi police officer said the “investigating officer of the case was not present with the CID team” as one of the reasons for not allowing them to do their job.
The West Bengal CID officials probing the case said the three arrested MLAs — Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari — had flown in to Kolkata from Guwahati. The West Bengal team in Guwahati was taken to a local police station near the airport and allegedly questioned for several hours.
A team of senior CID officers from Kolkata went to Guwahati to find out why their colleagues were prevented from collecting CCTV footage
“We hope if there are any issues with Assam police about our team’s intent it will be resolved,” a CID officer said.
A senior Guwahati police officer denied having detained the West Bengal team. “A four-member CID team from West Bengal reached Guwahati on Tuesday . We have extended our complete cooperation, including providing our cars so that they can go around doing their job smoothly. They are still in Guwahati. They have not been detained,” the officer told this newspaper in Guwahati.
In Kolkata, CID officers questioned businessman Mahendra Agarwal for several hours on Wednesday
A CID raid at his Lalbazar office a day before is said to have yielded ₹3 lakh and 250 silver coins and several passbooks. CID officers said the ₹49 lakh seized from the MLAs was handed over to a close aide of the MLAs in this office on Saturday.
During interrogation, the businessman complained of illness and was taken to SSKM hospital. He was allowed to go home in the evening.