The three Jharkhand Congress MLAs who were detained in Bengal with a pile of cash yesterday have been suspended from the party with immediate effect, the grand old party announced today at a press conference. The party earlier sought to link it with the BJP, saying that the three leaders were given money to make the state government fall.
The BJP, however, said the money is proof of corruption in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress alliance government.
“We have information on everyone. In the coming days, be it any public representative, party’s office bearer, or any worker, whoever is found connected or involved in this, the party will take action against them,” said Avinash Pande, General Secretary and In-charge, Jharkhand Congress.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Delhi, Mr Pande said Congress president Sonia Gandhi has suspended the three MLAs with immediate effect.
The MLAs — Irfan Ansari from Jamtara, Rajesh Kachhap from Khijri, and Naman Bixal Kongari from Kolebira — are being questioned by the Howrah Rural police about the source of the money.
Acting on a tip-off, police on Saturday intercepted an SUV in which the Congress MLAs were travelling on national highway-16 at Ranihati in Howrah and allegedly found a huge amount of cash in the vehicle.
“It is in the BJP’s nature to try and destabilise any government that’s not theirs. The same has been done against CM Hemant Soren’s government,” Bandhu Tirkey, Working President of Jharkhand Congress had alleged earlier. “The only reason the MLAs were given money is to make the government fall,” he said.
However, the relatives of one of the MLAs Irfan Ansari have rebutted allegations that BJP is trying to destabilise the coalition government in Jharkhand, according to news agency PTI.
“The government cannot be brought down with just a meagre sum of ₹ 40-50 lakh,” they reportedly said, adding 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.
The party’s communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh had claimed that the incident “exposed” the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ in Jharkhand. “The game plan of ‘Hum Do’ in Delhi is to do in Jharkhand what they did in Maharashtra by installing E-D duo,” he wrote.
Dilip Ghosh, a senior BJP leader from Bengal, linked the Howrah action with “investigation against corruption” in Jharkhand.