Kolkata Police arrests BJP leader Rakesh Singh

Move comes after the arrest of Pamela Goswami, a functionary of BJP’s youth wing, last week.

It was a high-octane day for politics of West Bengal, and started during the day and continued till late evening. In the evening, at around 9.30 pm on Tuesday, Kolkata Police arrested BJP leader Rakesh Singh from Galsi in Burdwan district in connection with its investigation of a drug seizure case in which Pamela Goswami, a functionary of the party’s youth wing, and two of her associates were arrested last week.

Singh had told police that he was travelling to Delhi for some work and would appear before them on 26 February after his return to the city. Singh had moved the High Court through his lawyers, seeking a stay on and quashing of the notice by the police to appear before it on Tuesday as a witness in the case. Singh’s lawyers submitted that at least 26 cases have been lodged against him after he joined the BJP and claimed that he was being hounded because of his political affiliation.

Appearing for the state of West Bengal, Advocate General Kishore Datta submitted that 56 cases were pending against Singh before he joined the political party and that there was no political connection in the matter. Hearing both the parties, Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya dismissed Singh’s petition. Following the court’s order, the Kolkata Police, who were stopped by Singh’s family members from entering their residence, went inside the house. His sons, who were trying to stop the police from entering the house, were also detained.

The day began when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reached TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee’s residence on Tuesday to question his wife Rujira in the coal smuggling case. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s house in south Kolkata’s Harish Mukherjee Road minutes before the CBI team arrived. Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira was grilled by the CBI in connection with the coal scam case.

The developments come days ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, with the Trinamool Congress alleging it to be a political vendetta. The CBI on 28 November last year carried out a massive search operation in a number of locations across four states (namely West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh), after registering a case against one Anup Majhi, alias Lala. It is alleged that Lala, the alleged kingpin of the scam, is involved in illegal mining and theft of coal from leasehold mines of ECL in Kunustoria and Kajora areas.