A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, Manish Sharma and six others were arrested on Tuesday with Rs 56 lakh in new notes of 2000. Police said that the others were reportedly members of the local coal mafia.
Manish Sharma contested this year’s assembly poll. He represented Raniganj and lost. The Kolkata police recovered seven arms and 89 rounds of ammunition. The accused allegedly have links with the coal mafia.
The leader was found in possession of around Rs 10 lakh while the rest of the money was found with the other accused. Sharma was travelling in the same car with the other accused and caught with the cash and weapons.
According to the officers, the group was travelling from Asansol-Durgapur to Kolkata. The group somehow managed to elude the police at Dankuni toll booth but later they were tracked down. Police claimed that he was laundering money using his contacts with the local coal mafia. The joint CP said the money was being collected “for procurement of arms”.
Don Rajesh Jha aka Raju was also among the accused. Raju was arrested twice in June and July in two cases of fake currency and murder and was out on a bail.
However, the party refused to take Manish Sharma’s responsibility and claimed the party expelled him in July. Asansol BJP legislator Babul Supriyo said to the NDTV, “Yes, we gave him a ticket. But when he tried to meet me after that, I avoided him. I don’t know anything about his coal mafia links.”
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh said the party is not supporting him and he has to prove his innocence.
The ruling party, Trinamool is expected to raise the matter in the Parliament. The party also accused BJP was buying land using the black money before Modi’s announcement of demonetisation.