Police in Kolkata have arrested a senior BJP functionary, Manish Sharma, with Rs 10 lakh of new Rs 2,000 notes in possession. An NDTV report said that another Rs. 23 lakh was seized from six others arrested along with him. Most of the money seized from their possession were in new Rs 2,000 notes.
Sharma (pictured below) was the BJP candidate from Bengal’s Raniganj Assembly seat in this year’s May elections.
Sharma’s visiting card identifies him as President, BJP, Raniganj “Mandal”. The BJP leaders in Raniganj, however, have distanced themselves adding that the arrested person had nothing to do with the party since 30 June.
Before Bengal polls, the then-state president of the BJP minority cell, Shakeel Ansari had alleged that the reason behind giving Sharma a ticket from Raniganj was his financial clout.
“Manish is a rich man. I am not. The situation prevalent when Rahul Sinha was the party president continues even during Dilip Ghosh’s reign. I wish I too had ancestral property so that I could pay a lot of money to get a ticket,” Indian Express quoted Ansari as saying.
Ansari later defected to Trinamool Congress.
Other reports said that Sharma was a protege of BJP MP, Babul Supriyo.
Cops were tipped off about Sharma and his associates on Monday as they travelled from Asansol-Durgapur area to Kolkata. They were also reported to be carrying locally made semi-automatic pistols and ammunition.
Sharma and his men had first succeeded in giving police a miss at a spot neary 30 kms from Kolkata. However, the cops kept a vigil on them using the help of mobile towers subsequently arresting them from an area near the airport.
In police records, Sharma is described as Manish Joshi, but both police and BJP sources have said that they were the same person.