Man Who Once Met 26/11 Plotter Arrested For Surveilling Abhishek Banerjee

The person, identified as Rajaram Rege, tried to call the TMC Diamond Harbour MP and his PA after getting their numbers, the officer added.

Man Who Once Met 26/11 Plotter Arrested For Surveilling Abhishek Banerjee

Rege stayed at a hotel in Kolkata's Shakespeare Sarani area, police said (Representational)


Kolkata Police Special Task Force and the detective department arrested a person from Mumbai for purportedly conducting recce around the residence and offices of Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee, an official said on Monday.

The person, identified as Rajaram Rege who is also linked to a political party in Maharashtra, tried to call up the TMC's Diamond Harbour MP and his personal assistant (PA), the officer added.

Additional Commissioner of Police Murlidhar Sharma claimed that Rege had met the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack prime accused David Headley earlier.

Rege was arrested a day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the BJP is targeting her and her nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and they do not feel safe.

The chief minister and Abhishek Banerjee are covered by Z-plus security.

"Today our officers arrested Rajaram Rege from Mumbai. He had visited Kolkata last week, stayed here, and conducted a recce of TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's offices and residence. He obtained the mobile phone numbers of Banerjee and his PA and tried to contact them," the officer said.

An investigation into the purpose of his visit to Kolkata has started.

"It (the recce) is an indication that something similar to 26/11 could have happened. There could be a big conspiracy. We have to check whether there is any such plan or not," Mr Sharma said.

Rege stayed in the city between April 18 and 20, the police officer said adding that the documents that Rege used to check in at the hotel are being examined.

"We are trying to get CCTV footage to check his movements," the officer said adding that the police were also checking whether he was here to organise any political rally or not.

"We are trying to find out how Rege procured the MP's mobile number and why he was trying to contact him. We are also trying to find out who he had met during his stay here," Mr Sharma said.

Speaking to reporters, senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien thanked the Kolkata Police for arresting the accused before the "plot" was executed.

"Today a 26/11 Mumbai terror attack-like incident has been busted, thanks to the Kolkata Police. It was planned on our leader Abhishek Banerjee. The person arrested was involved in the Mumbai terror attack also. Police have enough evidence that he also approached some people," he told a press conference.

O'Brien alleged that the BJP took this "dastardly act" as it could not fight the Trinamool Congress politically.

He also referred to Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari's prediction on Saturday that a political "explosion" would disintegrate the TMC by early next week.

Speaking at an election meeting in West Bengal's Malda in support of party candidate Srirupa Mitra Choudhury, Mr Adhikari claimed that a "huge explosion" would shatter the TMC-led by Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee.

A video clip of Adhikari's public meeting where he made that comment was played in the press conference.

Another TMC veteran Chandrima Bhattacharya alleged that the arrested accused was to execute a plot against the party's general secretary.

Incidentally, in July 2022, Kolkata Police arrested a fruit seller who managed to sneak into the chief minister's Kalightat residence by scaling walls.

In July 2023, the city police arrested another man with a firearm and a dagger near Banerjee's residence.

The man had claimed to be an intelligence officer and police had found identity cards of security agencies.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)