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Cash seizure finger at Bharati

Bharati Ghosh 

Calcutta: A court complaint was filed on Wednesday against former Bengal IPS officer Bharati Ghosh and three other cops, including her guard, over alleged misappropriation of Rs 45 lakh seized from a car after a crash in 2016.

The complaint in a West Midnapore court assumes significance as it came a day after the state CID seized Rs 2.5 crore in cash from one of Ghosh's flats off Calcutta's EM Bypass in connection with the probe into a gold extortion racket linked to some police officers in the district.

A court has ordered the investigation following a goldsmith's complaint. Among the many cops whose names have emerged in the probe is the guard, Sujit Mandal. Ghosh's flat was among the houses of several police officers raided as part of the inquiry.

However, unlike the gold-related matter where Ghosh is not named, Wednesday's complaint before the chief judicial magistrate mentions Ghosh as a co-accused.

According to Eunus Ali Mondal, the complainant from Swarupnagar in North 24-Parganas, his Maruti Suzuki Ertiga had met with an accident on September 24, 2016, at Sadatpur in West Midnapore's Kharagpur.

Mondal's elder brother and the driver were injured. The complaint says police officers had rushed to the spot, rescued the injured and seized two bags containing Rs 45 lakh in cash.

According to Mondal, he initially thought the money was in the "lawful custody" of the police for counting but later realised the cash would not be returned. He has alleged that despite pleas to the local police station and the office of then West Mindapore police chief Ghosh, his grievance was not redressed.

"The complainant was threatened with dire consequences in case any legal action is taken.... and due to such pressure, the complainant was compelled to withdraw a writ petition filed before the high court," the complaint states.

"....The clutches and influence of the accused persons herein, more specifically accused number 4 (Bharati Ghosh), are so enormous that the complainant was virtually kept away from taking any remedial measures since the life, safety and personal liberty...of the complainant and his entire family was at stake," the complaint states.

Mondal, however, has not mentioned the source of the Rs 45 lakh in the car. According to law, if a large stash of cash is seized from a vehicle by the police, the bearer must establish his claim and disclose the source of the money.

In Calcutta on Wednesday, Ghosh moved the high court alleging irregularities in the searches at her properties. Her husband M.A.V Raju, summoned by the state CID on Wednesday, cited "a serious ailment" and sought another date after seven days.

The CID later sent another notice and asked Raju to appear on Thursday.

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