The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Saturday arrested Sujit Mondal, a “close aide” of former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, from a hotel in New Delhi for his alleged connection with an extortion case.
“He has been arrested in Delhi today (Saturday) in connection with the Daspur case,” said Ashok Kumar Prasad, IG-II (CID).
CID officials said he has been arrested under Section 384-385 (extortion), 389 (putting person in fear of accusation of offence in order to commit extortion), 119 (public servant committing offence), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 486 (selling goods marked with counterfeit property mark), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Mondal is a resident of Sonarpur area and had been on the run since the case was registered.
A calculated move ahead of next year’s election?
The CID’s probe into the extortion and cheating case involving the former IPS officer, Bharati Ghosh, has been dubbed by the Opposition as a calculated move in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Ghosh, once considered a “close aide” of the Chief Minister, was the first IPS officer to resign from service during Mamata’s regime. She resigned in protest against the state government. “Ghosh is under the shelter of a political party and hence there is immense burden on the investigating agency to keep her under pressure. If they are successful in keeping her away from Bengal till Lok Sabha elections, their purpose will be solved. Hence all these arrests are just an eyewash,” a source told The Indian Express.
In July, Mondal evaded arrest in Mumbai where a team of officials were sent to catch him.
The CID has already submitted a chargesheet against Ghosh marking her as an absconder along with eight others at Ghatal court in West Midnapore. Apart from Ghosh, her bodyguard Mondal was also shown as an absconder in the chargesheet. All the accused were charged under sections of forgery, extortion and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
So far, seven people have been arrested in the case, including four police officials — former Circle Inspector of Ghatal Subhankar Dey, former officer-in-charge of Daspur police station Pradip Rath, former OC of Ghatal Chitta Pal and Assistant Sub-Inspector Debasish Das. A businessman from Ghatal, Bimal Gharai and Rajmangal Singh, caretaker of Ghosh’s flat at Madurdaha in Kolkata, were also arrested.
The state CID had taken up the case on the basis of a complaint of extortion and criminal conspiracy lodged by Chandan Majhi at Daspur police station in February. The CID in its chargesheet mentioned about a huge amount of cash and gold jewellery recovered from a series of raids at flats owned by Ghosh. The chargesheet also stated that gold was taken from traders assuring a high rate of return after demonetisation was announced.
“The Supreme Court has already ordered that Ghosh cannot be arrested until next order of the court in any old case so she can’t be considered as absconder,” said advocate Pinaki Bhattacharya on Saturday.
Meanwhile, sources close to Ghosh said that she is still uncertain about joining politics. “She is entangled in a lot of legal issues and if she gets a ticket from Bengal for the next year’s elections, she will be in further trouble. However, politics is unpredictable,” said the source.
Ghosh in her earlier conversation with The Indian Express had claimed that she was a victim of political vendetta.
“I will definitely join a political party. I am a victim of political vendetta. When I followed their (the TMC’s) instructions I was hailed as an honest officer. The moment I started putting my foot down regarding things I thought were inappropriate, they initiated criminal cases against me. Doesn’t matter if I am fighting an election or joining politics, I am determined to give them (the TMC) a befitting reply,” she had told The Indian Express.