Calcutta High Court rejects arrested Jharkhand MLAs plea for probe by Central agencies

Calcutta High Court. File

Calcutta High Court. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday rejected a petition by ​​three Jharkhand MLAs that an investigation against them should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other independent investigating agency. The MLAs were arrested on July 30 with ₹49 lakh cash and are under the custody of the West Bengal police’s Criminal Investigation Department. The MLAs had also sought a stay on the ongoing investigation which was also turned down by Justice Mousumi Bhattacharya.

The advocates appearing for the MLAs argued that since the case involves seizure of cash the matter should be investigated by a Central agency. The State government opposed the argument saying that those arrested and accused cannot decide on the investigating agency.

Three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand – Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari – were arrested from Panchala in Howrah last week. Their arrest had triggered a political row with the Congress alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to destabilise the elected government in Jharkhand. The Congress party has suspended the three MLAs.

On Wednesday, West Bengal CID officials alleged that they were not allowed to conduct a search by Delhi police despite a warrant by a court. A CID team had visited Delhi to search the premises of a person identified as Siddhartha Majumdar. On Thursday, the CID approached a Howrah Court to include more Sections against the accused. Five persons, including the three MLAs, are in custody and will be produced in court on August 10.  Investigation by the CID has also led to the identification of a Kolkata-based businessman who allegedly gave the money to the MLAs. CID officials are questioning the businessman.

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Printable version | Aug 19, 2022 6:40:18 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/high-court-rejectsarrested-jharkhand-mlas-plea-for-probe-by-central-agencies/article65727221.ece