Manish Sharma, and six others, were arrested with Rs 33 lakh in the new 2,000 rupee notes.
The arrest of a politician in Kolkata with wads of new currency notes has provoked a fight between Union Minister Babul Supriyo and the Trinamool Congress of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Mr Supriyo said on Wednesday that he regretted "wasting his time" on a person like Manish Sharma, who was the BJP's candidate in state polls earlier this year. Mr Sharma, 44, and six others were caught on Monday with Rs. 33 lakh in cash, mostly in brand new Rs 2,000 notes. He was suspended yesterday, after his arrested.
Minister Babul Supriyo, Trinamool Spar Over Notes Ban Arrest: 10 Points
- Mr Sharma was a BJP candidate at Raiganj, which is part of Mr Supriyo's Asansol parliamentary seat. Mr Supriyo had rooted for Mr Sharma during the campaign.
- "I rue the fact that I wasted so much time... so many BJP leaders wasted time campaigning for a person who seems to have been derailed from life and has been caught doing things he shouldn't," Mr Supriyo told NDTV.
- Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh has confirmed that Mr Sharma was suspended on Tuesday after the party learnt of his arrest. He had been removed from all party posts in June.
- The Trinamool Congress has targeted Mr Supriyo over his photos with the arrested politician. Mr Supriyo hit back by flagging a photo of Mamata Banerjee and Mr Sharma. He also alleged that another arrested man, Krishnakant Kolay, travelled to Singapore with the Chief Minister in 2014.
- "While it is my responsibility to answer queries about Manish, Didi has to explain Krishnakant Kayal and Raju Jha-Trinamool nexus," Mr Supriyo tweeted.
- Ms Banerjee's party leaders rubbished the allegation. Trinamool's Firhad Hakim said, "Many people stand beside public figures like Mamata Banerjee and take photos. But if a party nominates a person, it has to take responsibility."
- Mr Sharma allegedly had 10 lakh rupees in cash when he was arrested. His friends, travelling with him by car, had another Rs 23 lakh besides guns and bullets.
- The arrests took place after a police team was reportedly tipped off about the group travelling in an Innova car from Durgapur to Kolkata.
- The group managed to slip past the police at a toll plaza 30 km from Kolkata, but were tracked down through their cellphones and arrested from an apartment near the airport.
- In police records, Mr Sharma - whose visiting card says "President, BJP Raniganj Mandal" - is listed as Manish Joshi whose father lives in Pune. In his voter card, his residential address is Hyderabad. Raju Jha, another member of the group, is suspected to be a coal mafia don in the Asansol area.
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