June 2, 2021 3:44:22 am
Investigation into the highway robbery of an estimated Rs 3.5 crore three days before the Assembly elections in Kerala is adding to the BJP’s state unit embarrassment.
While BJP leaders have been questioned in connection with the case, discontent brewing in the party has spilled over onto the streets, with party workers clashing in Thrissur on Sunday over the alleged involvement of party leaders in the incident.
On Monday, OBC Morcha state vice-president Rishi Pulpu was sacked from the party after he demanded, in a social media post, that BJP’s Thrissur district committee be dissolved.
On Tuesday, police registered a case against BJP Thrissur district general secretary K R Hari on charges of threatening Rishi, who has alleged that the party’s district unit has tried to protect the accused in the robbery case.
Police sources said BJP Thrissur district president K K Aneesh Kumar will be questioned on Wednesday in connection with the case.
“Kozhikode-based RSS worker ( A K Dharmarajan), whose money seemed to have been robbed by a hired gang, had told police that the money belonged to the BJP,” a source in the police said.
“Other BJP leaders have denied it. We are trying to verify the veracity of Dharmarajan’s statement by questioning other BJP leaders.”
More leaders would be questioned to ascertain the source and destination of the amount robbed, the source said.
The amount recovered from the premises of the arrested gang has also risen in the intervening period.
“Dharmarajan had claimed that he lost only Rs 25 lakh. But we have so far recovered Rs 1.26 crore. One team is engaged in recovering the rest of the amount,’’ sources said.
On April 3, three days before the elections, a vehicle was allegedly robbed on a national highway stretch between Thrissur and Kochi.
On April 7, a day after the polls, the driver of the vehicle complained to the police that
Rs 25 lakh was robbed, which, he told police, belonged to Dharmarajan.
The CPI(M) had alleged that the robbery was a BJP ploy to raise money for its election funds, which the saffron party had denied.
As the probe progressed, several leaders, including BJP state secretary (organisation) M Ganeshan, were questioned.
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