Kolkata, Aug 4: The three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand, nabbed with a huge amount of cash from West Bengal last week, received a jolt on Thursday as the Calcutta High Court rejected their plea that their case be handed over to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A single judge bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya has maintained the matter will continue to be probed by the state police's CID. However, the bench observed that if the petitioners desire, they can approach a division bench or higher court against her decision.
On June 20 evening, three Congress MLAs from Jharkhand, namely Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kacchap and Naman Bixal Kongari, were nabbed by the police from Howrah with a cash to the tune of Rs 49 lakh in their vehicles. The CID took over the investigation and the three MLAs approached the high court.
West Bengal government's counsel, Anirban Roy argued that the accused persons cannot have the choice on which agency will probe the charges framed against them. "The accused persons cannot have the choice of CBI or any other agency. A separate FIR in the matter has been filed at Ranchi. But since the incidence of cash seizure happened in West Bengal, the FIR at Ranchi is not admissible," Roy added.
Siddharth Luthra, the counsel for the petitioners, argued that they want the transfer of the investigation process since the state police do not have the right to arrest them. He also alleged that the ruling party in West Bengal is trying to gain political mileage from the entire incident.
In his counter argument, the West Bengal government's counsel said that since the cash seizure was in an area under the jurisdiction of the state police, the latter have every right to probe that matter.
After hearing both sides, Justice Bhattacharya observed that on the basis of assumptions, it is not possible to order for a transfer of probe process from one agency to the other. She also said that the statements given by the three MLAs that they brought the cash to purchase sarees from Kolkata is not admissible and hence the court does not find any reason to interfere in the interrogation process.