The Crime Investigation Department of West Bengal is on a nationwide search for former superintendent of police, Bharati Ghosh. One of the most wanted criminals of the country, 56-year-old Ghosh is believed to be very close to the present West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at some point in the past. It is alleged that she has undeclared assets and reportedly went missing along with a constable bodyguard. She was once posted in Midnapore, a Maoist-affected area of West Bengal.
Bharati Ghosh’s husband M.A.V. Raju has also been questioned to find out her whereabouts. A search warrant against Raju, who is a senior executive with Calcutta Stock Exchange was also issued along with that for Bharati Ghosh on February 9, 2018. He has got an interim bail until March 15.
Meanwhile, Bharati has been sending audio messages to the media from undisclosed locations in which she is condemning the “witch-hunt” against her. The opposition in West Bengal, both Congress and BJP have demanded a CBI probe in the matter alleging the Trinamool Congress government of following her since she had information about massive overnight gold transactions after demonetization and important information about death of senior Maoist leader Kishenji alias Koteshwar Rao. Rao died in November 2011 in West Midnapore.
The case against Bharati Ghosh started on February 1 when a restaurant owner named Chandan Majhi lodged a complaint for extortion and cheating against police at Ghatal subdivisional court in West Midnapore. In his complaint, Majhi alleged that he had sold 375 grams gold jewelry to a cop under a “scheme” in which banned notes were used to buy gold, with a false receipt date. This happened post the November 8, 2016 demonetization of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Majhi, who has been proclaimed as an offender as per police records held that he never got his payment.
The court handed over the investigation to CID. On February 2, raid on the house reportedly owned by Ghosh’s husband Raju was conducted and complaint against sub-inspector Pradip Rath, assistant SI Debhashis Das, constable Sanjoy Mahoto and a gold trader, Bimal Ghorai was lodged.
On February 7, anther an FIR was lodged with the West Bengal police, this time, also having the name of Bharati Ghosh. Another man named Yunus Ali Mondol lodged a complaint against Ghosh in the same court. This complaint also had names of Ghosh’s former assistant Sujit Mondal, sub-inspector Charanjit Ghosh and officer-in-charge of Kharagpur police station Rajshekhar Payne. According to Mondol, police seized two bags from his car on National Highway 6 near Sadapur (West Midnapore) and never returned the money.
Six of the accused in these complaints are under arrest. In a series of raids on the residences of Ghosh and police officers believed to be close to her, in different parts of West Bengal, CID claims of have recovered about 50 original land sale deeds of value close to Rs 300 crore, tablets, pen drives, hard disks, gold jewellery, apart from “57 sealed bottles of imported scotch whisky. Also, there is 1.1 kg gold jewelry and over Rs 4 crore cash.
All the police action against Ghosh has come as a big surprise since she is known to be close to Trinamool Congress. However, the political party claims that she was close to Mukul Roy who left the party in September 2017 and moved to BJP thereafter.