Updated: April 30, 2021 5:08:12 am
PROBE INTO a highway robbery of Rs 25 lakh on April 3, three days ahead of the assembly elections, has found that the businessman who lost the money is an RSS worker, police said on Thursday. Also, according to the police, there is a mismatch between the money claimed to have been robbed and the sum recovered from one of the accused, which is much higher.
According to the complaint lodged with the police on April 7, a day after polling, a gang waylaid the car which was carrying the money and looted it on the highway from Thrissur to Kochi.
The robbery got political colour after LDF convener and CPI (M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan alleged that the looted amount was part of the BJP’s election fund. He alleged that a section of BJP leaders was involved in the looting of the “black money” that the party had allegedly pumped into the elections in Kerala.
Saleem Madavoor, national president of Loktantrik Yuva Janata Dal, also complained to the Enforcement Directorate, alleging that the money was part of the BJP’s election fund for southern districts. “The actual plundered amount was Rs 10 crore, of which Rs 3.5 crore was meant for Ernakulam district,” he alleged in his complaint.
On Thursday, Thrissur Rural SP G Poonguzhali told reporters that the money belonged to A K Dharmarajan, a businessman in Kozhikode. “We have understood from the probe that he is an RSS worker,” she said.
Police have arrested seven people – all with criminal antecedents – in connection with the robbery. A search is on for five others, including the key suspect.
According to the police, they have recovered Rs 30 lakh in cash and gold from the premises of one of the arrested person. The police said this showed that the actual amount looted by the gang could be much higher.
The police said Dharmarajan got Rs 25 lakh from Sunil Naik, a former state treasurer of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP.
When contacted, Naik, who is also from Kozhikode, said he had given the money to Dharmarajan for business purposes. “I have several years of financial transactions with Dharmarajan. When I gave him this particular amount, I didn’t ask him why he needed it. I have a real-estate business and I will furnish details with the police to show the source of income. I don’t know anything about a higher amount recovered from one of the accused,’’ he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.