West Bengal’s Howrah district police today seized “a large amount of cash” from a car that three Parliament MLAs from Jharkhand were traveling in, leading to allegations of political “horse trafficking”. Three people – Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachhap and Naman Bixal Kongari – have been detained for questioning about the origin of the money, and money counting machines will have to be used to determine the exact amount, police said.
Their car, a Toyota Fortuner SUV, has a sign saying ‘Jamtara MLA’ which means Irfan Ansari. Mr Kachhap MLA is from Khijri, Mr Kongari from Kolebira. There has been no response from them yet, but Parliament says it has been given funds by the BJP to overthrow the coalition government of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress. “The nature of the BJP is to try and destabilize any government that is not theirs,” Bandhu Tirkey, Jharkhand Parliamentary Affairs Chairman, told ANI news agency.
Team Leader Jharkhand BJP Aditya Sahuhowever, it is alleged that the money is evidence of the corruption of the JMM Congress. “Since they came to power, corruption is increasing. They use public money for other purposes,” he told the news agency.
Political questions were also transferred from Bengal. In a tweet, the ruling Trinamool Parliament addressed “rumours about the horse trade and possible overthrow of the Jharkhand government”. Trinamool minister and boss Mamata Banerjee recently accused the BJP of trying to force a change of government in Jharkhand following the recent change in Maharashtra. The BJP did not specifically respond to this.
Amid whispers of the horse trade and the possible overthrow of the Governor of Jharkhand. 3 @INCJharkhand was found to have brought a large amount of cash to Bengal.
What is the origin of this money? Is there any central authority that is aware of suo moto?
Or do the rules apply to a select few? https://t.co/hZzvqienx6
– All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) July 30, 2022
Several leaders from the Bengal government – recently burned by piles of proceeds from an aide to arrested party leader Partha Chatterjee – have also questioned the Executive Directorate (ED), asking whether act against those who are not Trinamool or not. Minister Shashi Panja shared a video that was tweeted by a journalist and wrote, “ED, are you taking notes or isn’t the matter heartbreaking enough?”
Trinamool has alleged that it is being targeted selectively by the BJP through central government agencies.
As for the cash seizure, police said the SUV was stopped near the village of Panchla and money was found in the bag. “We had concrete information that huge amounts of money were being transported,” said Swati Bhangalia, Superintendent of Howrah Rural Police, adjacent to Kolkata.
#CLOCK | Three Parliamentary MLAs from Jharkhand i.e. Irfan Ansari, MLA from Jamtara, Rajesh Kachhap, MLA from Khijri & Naman Bixal, MLA from Kolebira were seized in huge amount of cash by police. pic.twitter.com/VCH06cMr33
– ANI (@ANI) July 30, 2022
“We have investigated the details and are asking three MLAs from Jharkhand for details and proof of the cash. Counting and other legal proceedings will be carried out,” she added.
There were two other people in the car, including a driver, it is said.