KOLKATA, 7 Dec: A politician in Bengal who was expelled from the BJP earlier this year was held with six others in Kolkata with Rs. 33 lakh.
According to the Police, most of the seized cash is in new 2000 rupee notes.
Manish Sharma, who was a BJP candidate in Raniganj in the assembly polls of April-May, was arrested with Rs. 10 lakh in his possession. Another Rs. 23 lakh was recovered from six others arrested along with him.
It has learnt that the group had possibly converted black or untaxed money into white in Kolkata.A Police team arrested the seven on Monday night following a tip off suggesting that the group was travelling in an Innova car from the Asansol-Durgapur to Kolkata with lots of cash and arms.
Raju Jha, one of the arrested men is suspected to be part of the coal mafia in the Asansol area.
The group managed to cross the Dankuni toll plaza 30 km from Kolkata, say sources, but police traced their movement through cellphones and arrested them last night from a flat near the Kolkata airport.
Mr Sharma was allegedly close to Union Minister Babul Supriyo. “We gave him a ticket but after that when he tried to meet me, I avoided. I don’t know anything about his coal mafia associations,” Mr Supriyo reportedly said after Mr Sharma’s arrest.
Local BJP leaders have also maintained distance from him.
Besides cash, they were also carrying several improvised semi-automatics guns and a Carl Walther pistol and ammunition.
In police records, Manish Sharma – whose visiting card says “President, BJP Raniganj Mandal” – is listed as Manish Joshi whose father lives in Pune. In his voter card, his residential address is Hyderabad.
At Raniganj, local BJP leaders say Manish Sharma has had nothing to do with the party since June 30. But the Trinamool Congress is expected to raise the matter in Parliament tomorrow.
On Monday, Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the BJP of buying land just ahead of demonetisation.
Earlier, reports were also emerged accusing Bengal unit of the BJP for depositing Rs. 3 crore in its official bank account just before noteban.