Updated: May 23, 2021 8:15:26 am
A highway robbery of Rs 3.5 crore on April 3, just three days before state Assembly elections, took a new turn Saturday with the police deciding to question state BJP leaders. The ruling Left Front had alleged the looting was a “drama enacted” by local BJP leaders for “sharing unused election funds”.
According to sources in Thrissur police, the Crime Branch Saturday issued notices to BJP state General Secretary (Organisation) and senior RSS pracharak M Ganeshan and BJP state office Secretary G Gireeshan. Both were told to appear before the investigating team on Sunday.
On Saturday, the police questioned three BJP leaders from Thrissur — district General Secretary K R Hari, Central Regional Secretary Kashinathan and district Treasurer Sujay Senan — in connection with the robbery that took place on the highway between Thrissur and Kochi.
BJP state President K Surendran, however, said the party had no connection with the incident. “There is a bid to link the case with BJP. Neither BJP nor NDA has illegal financial transactions. We had only digital transactions in this election in Kerala. The questioning of BJP leaders is only a drama. Police say the gang had robbed Rs 3.5 crore, but they are yet to produce the looted money. This police drama to tarnish BJP will not succeed. The BJP did not use illegal money in this election,” he said.
In a complaint filed with local police a day after voting on April 7, the car driver complained that the money belonged to Kozhikode-based businessman and RSS worker AK Dharmarajan. Dharmarajan claimed he had received the money from Sunil Naik, a former leader of state BJP Yuva Morcha.
Police sources said state BJP leaders knew about the fund movement. The three district-level BJP leaders questioned on Saturday gave statements against the state leaders, they said. “We are looking at the source of money as well as its destination. More BJP leaders, including national leaders, would be questioned to verify the source of funds,’’ a police officer said.
Police said though the complaint mentioned looting of just Rs 25 lakh, the actual amount was Rs 3.5 crore. “We have recovered Rs one crore… The looted money was shared among the gang and stashed in various places. We are hopeful of recovering the rest of the amount in the coming days,’’ a police source said.
Police have, so far, arrested 19 persons involved in looting and hiding the booty. Most of them had criminal antecedents, and were involved in looting hawala funds. Sources said that the movement of funds from North Kerala to Central Kerala was deliberately leaked out, and a gang hired to enact the looting drama.
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