Retired IPS Officer & BJP Candidate Bharati Ghosh Grilled by West Bengal CID in Extortion Case
Ghosh is contesting against Dipak Adhikari, a Bengali movie star better known as Dev who is the ruling Trinamool’s incumbent MP from Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency.
File photo of ex-IPS officer Bharati Ghosh.
Kolkata: A day after she filed her nomination as the BJP candidate for Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency, retired IPS officer Bharati Ghosh was questioned by the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Friday in connection with a case of extortion.
Ghosh was a key officer in Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s crackdown on Maoists. Her rise in the party, catalysed by her closeness to Banerjee, was swift. This proximity to the political leadership had prompted Ghosh’s transfers in the 2014 and 2016 West Bengal Assembly polls, with the opposition complaining to the Election Commission.
By 2015, her relationship with Banerjee had soured. A key reason, according to Trinamool leaders, was her perceived proximity to Mukul Roy. After the Sabang bypoll in December 2017, Ghosh was transferred to a less significant posting in command of the 3rd Battalion of the State Armed Police. Soon after, she sought and was granted voluntary retirement.
Ghosh is now contesting against Dipak Adhikari, a Bengali movie star better known as Dev and the Trinamool’s incumbent MP. This was the first time she has been questioned in any of the 10 cases that have been leveled against her.
A team of CID officers led by Indra Chakraborty, Special Superintendent of Police from the CID headquarters, arrived at Ghosh’s temporary campaign headquarters at Daspur on Friday morning. The CID had earlier summoned her to the CID headquarters in Kolkata for questioning. However, Ghosh had failed to turn up as she was filing her nomination, said sources.
“She had told the CID that she was unable to come since she was busy with election preparation. The CID came to her instead,” said a senior police officer.
Ghosh had earlier alleged that the CID had tapped her mobile phone and had filed a complaint with the EC. A letter sent by her advocate, Pinaki Bhattacharya, said, “An election candidate’s mobile phone cannot be tapped by any agency after declaration of candidature and during the period of election and if it is done, the act will be treated as a serious illegality.”
“My client is an ex-IPS officer and former superintendent of police of Paschim Midnapore and due to her previous service experience, she can easily find out the differences of noise when a phone is tapped,” it had added. “The people will give the TMC a befitting reply. It has become politically bankrupt.”
On February 1 last year, the state police registered a case against Ghosh, her husband, and a few officers. The action came after a man lodged a complaint and claimed that the police, at the BJP’s behest, had taken 75 grams of gold from him on the promise of astronomic returns but had failed to return it. Soon after, Ghosh’s chartered accountant husband and eight police officials were arrested.
During raids at Ghosh's residence at Naktala and two other premises in Kolkata, the CID claimed to have recovered 50 original land sales deeds amounting to Rs 300 crore, gold jewellery, pen drives, tablets, hard disks and 57 bottles of imported whiskey. In October last year, Ghosh had approached the Supreme Court, which had ordered that “no coercive action” be taken against her.
The case remains sub judice.
Why Ghatal constituency
Of the seven Assembly segments in Ghatal, six are in West Midnapore district and the other in East Midnapore.
According to a Trinamool leader, Ghosh “was the unquestionable ruler of West Midnapore”.
“There is not one person, not one police officer, who Ghosh doesn't know. She approached the Maoism in the district like someone entrusted with a battle. She is likely to do the same for the elections," the leader added.
Dev is one of the highest-paid actors in the state. In 2014, he had contested against CPI leader Santosh Rana and Congress party’s Manas Bhuniya, bagging eight lakh votes in the process.
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