Daspur extortion case: CID seizes Rs 2.4 crore in fresh raids
Days after West Bengal CID raided houses of relatives and several police officers considered close to former West Midnapore police chief Bharati Ghosh for their alleged involvement in an extortion case
Days after West Bengal CID raided houses of relatives and several police officers considered close to former West Midnapore police chief Bharati Ghosh for their alleged involvement in an extortion case, a series of fresh raids on Tuesday led to the seizure of Rs. 2.4 crore, a senior officer said here. The officer said raids were going on in three Kolkata-based flats in different locations till late evening while refusing to divulge any information on the location or ownership of the residences for the sake of investigation.
He also refused to name Bharati Ghosh or give specific replies to questions about her. "A case was registered in Daspur (of West Midnapore district) on February 1 on the charges of threatening, extortion, criminal conspiracy. We conducted fresh searches today (Tuesday) in three locations and recovered Rs. 2.4 crore in new currency. The raids are on and would continue in future." The CID has previously conducted raids in a flat in east Kolkata's Madurdaha which reportedly belongs to Ghosh and arrested two persons including the flat's caretaker.
"During our initial raids, Rs 60 lakh in cash and two kg of gold was seized from a flat in Madurdaha. Two persons Bimal Gharia and Rajmangal Singh were arrested. Singh, the care taker, has been remanded to our custody on Monday. The raids were conducted on the basis of his statements," the officer said. "We cannot confirm whose flats were raided as they were closed from before and no one claimed their ownership. We entered the flats by breaking the locks. It (the ownership) can only be confirmed after the documents are verified in court," he pointed out.
He gave a similar reply when told that Ghosh has claimed that she was the owner of the flat at Madurdaha. Asked about a police complaint lodged by Ghosh's family against the CID for entering their residence without proper documents and planting evidences, the CID officer said all the legal protocols were followed during the raids. "We are following the provisions given in the CrPC while conducting the searches. Police have done nothing wrong that can be considered illegal. The officers involved in the raids underwent thorough body search before and after the operation to prove that they neither planted nor took away anything from the flats. Videography of the entire operation was also done," he added.
He said CID teams were fanning out into other states to conduct search operations. "Some teams have already gone. Two or three more teams will leave for other states soon,... but I won't name the states as it will hamper investigation." The CID raids started after a case of extortion and criminal conspiracy was lodged in West Midnapore district's Daspur on February 1 after a gold trader named Chandan Majhi lodged a complaint against some police officers in the district thought to be close to former SP Ghosh.
Ghosh, once a favourite of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, reportedly fell from grace and was transferred last December to a less significant post as commandant of the State Armed Police's Third Battalion. She sought voluntary retirement, and the government accepted her request last month. A voice message, purportedly from Bharati Ghosh, has been doing the rounds of social media claiming that her south Kolkata residence was also raided while her husband was kept locked in a room. The message further states that Ghosh, currently not in Kolkata, would take legal action on her return.
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