The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday submitted a chargesheet against former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, accusing her of corruption, extortion, forgery and criminal conspiracy. It has also labelled her an absconder.
The charge sheet, submitted at a court in West Midnapore’s Ghatal, was filed in connection with an extortion case. A complaint had been lodged by one Chandan Maji in February this year. Nine people, including Ghosh, her husband and four police officers, are accused in the case. Though the four police officers named in the case have been arrested, the former IPS officer is yet to be traced. Ghosh’s husband MV Raju, a Kolkata resident, has already been questioned a number of times by the police.
In the charge sheet, the nine accused have been booked under sections 384 (punishment for extortion), 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion), 389 (putting person in fear of accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion), 119 (public servant concealing design to commit offence which it is his duty to prevent), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC,and under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
In his complaint, filed on February 1, Maji had alleged that a few police officers had taken 375 grams of gold from him with the promise of high returns, but never paid him back. Following this, the Ghatal court ordered an inquiry that led the CID to arrest the four police officers. They are Pradip Rath (former officer-in-charge of Daspur police station), Chitta Pal (officer-in-charge of Ghatal police station), Suvankar Dey (circle inspector) and Debasish Das (assistant sub-inspector). They are now out on bail.
Bimal Ghorai, a businessman, and Rajmangal Singh, the caretaker of an apartment in Kolkata where Ghosh and Raju own flats, were also arrested in this connection. The CID claimed that they found Rs 2.4 crore in cash and gold during the raids on premises allegedly owned by Ghosh, her husband and other police officers.
“Maji in his complaint said that after demonetization, businessman Bimal Ghorai pitched a scheme to people in the area which promised they would get twice the value of gold they sold and the payment would be made in new currency notes. But they never got their money back. Investigations have revealed that there were a number of police officials involved in the scam,” said Nishat Parvez, DC (Headquarters), CID.
Though Maji didn’t name Ghosh in his complaint, the officers, who were arrested and subsequently interrogated, admitted that they committed the acts under the instruction of Ghosh, who was then the superintendent of district police, CID sources said.
When asked about Ghosh’s whereabouts, Parvez said investigations were still underway. Forensic evidence and statements of witnesses were attached with the charge sheet. On February 9, the court issued arrest warrants against Ghosh and her security person.
Earlier, in an audio message circulated from an undisclosed location, Ghosh had said, “The gold that I possess was declared before I joined the police force. The gold was a gift from my father, a zamindar from Madhupur, at the time of my marriage. The CID is trying to malign me under instructions from the state government.” Ghosh, once a close confidante of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, later fell out with her, following which she resigned in December 2017.