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Congress suspends 3 Jharkhand MLAs who were held in West Bengal with huge amount of cash

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New Delhi, July 31

The Congress party on Sunday suspended three MLAs, who were held with a huge amount of cash in West Bengal on Saturday, with immediate effect.

Addressing a press conference today, the general secretary and party in-charge of Jharkhand Congress, Avinash Pande said, “The three MLAs, who were held with a mountain of cash yesterday, have been suspended from the party with immediate effect.”

The three MLAs, Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari were travelling in an SUV on National Highway-16 at Ranihati in Bengal when the police intercepted their vehicle.

The relatives of Congress MLA Irfan Ansari rebutted allegations that BJP is trying to destabilize the JMM-Cong coalition government in Jharkhand, making the surprising statement,” the government cannot be brought down with just a meagre sum of Rs 40-50 lakh”

Relatives of Ansari, the man who was detained in West Bengal’s Howrah district on Saturday evening after a huge amount of cash was found in his vehicle, said that he was in Howrah to “do shopping, especially of sarees” ahead of the upcoming festive season and thus, was carrying a huge chunk of cash.

Notably, JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha)-Congress alliance is in power in Jharkhand and BJP is in Opposition.

Three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand were detained in West Bengal’s Howrah district on Saturday evening after a huge amount of cash was found in their vehicle, police said.

The SUV in which MLAs Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari were traveling was intercepted on National Highway-16 at Ranihati in the Panchla police station area.

“We got a specific input on the basis of which we stopped the car. Three MLAs from Jharkhand were in the car and we found a lot of cash inside. We had to ask for a counting machine because of the volume of cash. We will be able to tell how much cash was recovered only after full counting is done,” SP Rural Howrah Swati Bhangalia said.

Talking to reporters today on this development, Mohammad Azharuddin, MLA Irfan Ansari’s relative said, “The information we have with us is equivalent to what you all (media persons) have. It is more important for us to find out what exactly the incident was. He (Ansari) comes here (Howrah) every year to buy various items like sarees ahead of the festive season, especially for Durga Puja celebrations that will take place in September.”

“All the MLAs are good friends. They like traveling together and hence they had about Rs 40-50 lakhs of cash in their car. Rs 40-50 lakhs will not be enough to bring a government down from power,” he added.

Imran Ansari, MLA Irfan Ansari’s brother, said, “News channels are claiming crores of cash has been recovered from the vehicle. My brother came here to do shopping, especially of sarees. Adivasis Diwas, Durga Puja diwas ke liye shopping karne aaye the. (We came here to do shopping for Adivasis Diwas, Durga Puja). At this time, it will be cheaper to buy sarees as it is not the peak of the festive season.”

In a tweet, the ruling Trinamool Congress referred to “murmurs of horse-trading and the possible toppling of the Jharkhand government”.

Chief Minister and Trinamool boss Mamata Banerjee had recently accused the BJP of trying to force a change of government in Jharkhand after the recent change in Maharashtra. The BJP did not react specifically to this.

Responding to the allegations made by Congress against the BJP, Union Minister Arjun Munda on Sunday said the grand old party make allegations to hide their corrupt practices.

Munda responded to the baseless accusations levelled by the Congress party after the grand old party alleged BJP of toppling the government in Jharkhand through “Operation Lotus”.

Congress made accusations against BJP after three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand were detained in Bengal after “a huge amount” of cash was found in their vehicle in West Bengal, the party accused the BJP of toppling the government in Jharkhand through “Operation Lotus”.

Jharkhand party chief Rajesh Thakur also alleged that this is a conspiracy of the BJP to destabilize the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress alliance government in a state like Maharashtra.

Responding to Rajesh Thakur’s allegations, the Union Minister said, “The Congress is making baseless allegations. Congress is accusing BJP of destabilizing the government in Jharkhand to hide its corrupt practices. Congress party has a habit of levelling baseless allegations against others to hide their own mistakes under the carpet. Trying to cover up your mistakes with words will not do. The truth is visible to everyone. A huge amount of cash was recovered from their car. They (Congress MLAs) must explain where all the cash recovered from the car came from. They have to tell what were they doing in Bengal with a huge amount of cash.”

Recently, West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was stripped of his portfolios and his positions in the Trinamool Congress by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday, six days after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the cash-for-jobs scandal, in which the agency has thus far recovered cash over Rs 50 crores.


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