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Jharkhand Cong MLAs spent 50 min in Kolkata hotel before being held with cash

2022-08-02 00:00:00

National

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NEW DELHI: The three Congress legislators from Jharkhand who were arrested by the Bengal police on Sunday for carrying 49 lakh in cash spent nearly 50 minutes at a hotel in Kolkata on Saturday afternoon, the state Criminal Investigation Department CID has found.The CID suspects that the MLAs received the money during these 50 minutes.Located at Sudder Street, a popular destination among tourists, especially foreigners, the hotel opened room No 106 for Jamtara legislator Irfan Ansari, Khijri MLA Rajesh Kachhap and Naman Bixal, who represents Kolebira constituency, said CID officials who seized security camera footage from the hotel.A Howrah district court remanded the legislators in CID s custody for 10 days on Sunday afternoon. nbsp;Ansari, Kachhap and Bixal were charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code IPC , including criminal conspiracy, and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.It was found that they flew to Guwahati on Friday hours after reaching the Bengal capital by road and returned to Kolkata on Saturday morning.The hotel staff told CID officials that the owner of the establishment was apparently informed about the visit and he asked his employees to open only one room so that the politicians could use the toilet.The names of the MLAs were not entered in the hotel register although the time of their entry and exit were recorded.

The register only mentioned MLA, Jamtara in the slot meant for signature of the guest, the CID found.The MLAs stayed in the room for only 10 minutes from 3.04 pm to 3.10 pm and left for a bar cum restaurant located outside the hotel building, the staff members told the CID. CCTV footage showed that the MLAs stayed in the bar from 3.10 pm to 3.50 pm on Saturday. The footage showed that when the MLAs were inside the bar, a man left the premises on a scooter and returned after some time with a bag. This is being probed, an official said on condition of anonymity.The MLAs were questioned on Saturday night at Panchla police station in Howrah where Ansari s SUV, in which the group was travelling, was detained by the local police which was acting on a tip off about illegal transportation of cash. The driver and an aide of Ansari were also arrested and remanded in CID custody by the court.The legislators claimed that they brought the money from Jharkhand to buy sarees from the Burrabazar wholesale market in Kolkata for distribution at an upcoming tribal festival in their state.

The MLAs also told the police that they were planning to spend Sunday at the beach town of Mandarmani in East Midnapore district and return to Kolkata on Monday for shopping. The police, however, were not convinced.Asked about the trip to Assam, Ansari claimed that he went to Guwahati to talk to a school administration for his son s admission but the other legislators could not provide any plausible explanation, CID officials said.The Assam trip triggered allegations of horse trading against the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP which was accused of hatching a plan to bring down the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha led coalition government.The three MLAs were suspended by the Congress on Sunday.Suggesting that the BJP was trying to carry out Operation Lotus in Jharkhand, the Congress slammed its rival saying it was Operation Keechad slime that was being carried out. Please let s stop calling it Operation Lotus. It s Operation Keechad, Congress leader Pawan Khera said at a media briefing where suspension of the Jharkhand legislators was announced to set a precedent .The BJP made attempts to topple governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Khera said, adding, Now, they are eyeing Jharkhand .Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar demanded an Enforcement Directorate probe into the seizure of cash from Ansari s car.

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