KOLKATA: A vehicle with a board displaying “MLA Jamtara, Jharkhand,” in which three Congress MLAs were travelling, was intercepted on the national highway in Howrah on Saturday evening, after which the police found the boot of the car stashed with bundles of cash in the denomination of Rs 500 currency notes. Police detained the three MLAs — Irfan Ansari, Bixal Kongari and Rajesh Kachhap — and currency counting machines were brought to assess the volume of cash.
Swati Bhangalia, the superintendent of police, Howrah rural, said they were armed with a specific tip-off, based on which the vehicle was intercepted at Panchla in Howrah. “Five persons, including three Congress MLAs, were travelling in the vehicle. We intercepted the vehicle heading towards Jharkhand from Kolkata and a search ended with the recovery of the cash. We detained the three MLAs as they failed to come up with a satisfactory explanation about the origin of the cash,’’ she said.
It is yet to be ascertained whether the volume of cash has any link with the ongoing probe into the alleged recruitment scam in schools which led to the arrests of TMC heavyweight and former minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide, Arpita Mukherjee. A volume of cash worth Rs 49.8 crore was recovered from Arpita’s two apartments.
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said only Congress leaders in Bengal would be able to say anything about the source of money and the purpose of transporting the money.“Only the state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and other leaders of the party can say about the cash found in the car in which three MLAs of their party were travelling,’’ he said.
“Huge amounts of cash recovered from a car @INCIndia MLA from Jharkhand-intercepted at Howrah. Apparently, 3 INC MLAs were travelling in the car. Is ED going after only a select few?,’’ the TMC tweeted. The Congress has launched a blistering attack on the TMC on the issue of Chatterjee’s arrest and recovery of cash from Arpita’s houses.