Don’t arrest former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh’s husband: Calcutta HC to CID
In a temporary respite, the Calcutta high court on Thursday directed the CID not to arrest former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh’s husband M.A.V. Raju till March 15 in connection with its probe into a case of alleged extortion and illegal exchange of banned notes for gold. Hearing an anticipatory bail plea by Raju, a division bench comprising justices Joymalyo Bagchi and R. Bharadwaj directed Raju to cooperate with the investigators and appear before the Netaji Nagar police station once a week.
The court asked his lawyer the reason behind moving the plea for anticpatory bail since his name did not figure in the FIR.
Mr Raju’s counsel Bhaskar Sen submitted before the court that the CID has conducted search and seizure operations at his residence and has taken away several documents and land deeds as well as other assets, including gold ornaments of their household deity. Claiming that Raju was facing harassment as he was the husband of Bharati Ghosh, his counsel said the recent activities of the CID have made him apprehensive about his arrest in the case and that is why he has moved the court to seek anticipatory bail.
Ms Ghosh, who was the West Midnapore superintendent of police for more than six years, was transferred as commandant of the third battalion of the state armed police on December 26 last year. She resigned from service two days later. She was once considered close to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and was also awarded a service medal on August 15, 2014. Ghosh was transferred twice, once by the Election Commission before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the second time by the state itself before the 2016 Assembly elections. She was, however, reinstated as West Midnapore SP as soon as the elections got over on both occasions. An arrest warrant was also issued against Ghosh last week in connection with an extortion case registered at Daspur police station in West Midnapore district, following her resignation.
The CID, probing cases relating to alleged extortion and misconduct against Ghosh, had also conducted raids at various properties, including a house in Kolkata that belongs to her husband Raju.
A few police officers of inspector and sub-inspector ranks have been arrested by the CID in connection with the probe. Denying the harassment allegations levelled by Raju’s counsel, state advocate-general Kishore Datta told the court that investigations were being held into alleged extortion and cheating of a businessman by some lower level police officials in West Midnapore.
He claimed that a large amount of money has been recovered from the residence of Raju and his wife apart from deeds of land holdings. Datta told the court that the CID wants to question Raju to find out whether there is any connection between the alleged cheating case and the money and documents recovered. He stated that Raju had not appeared before the CID even after notice was served to him, citing health conditions. After hearing both the parties, the division bench directed Raju to cooperate with the investigators.
In its interim order, the court fixed March 12 as the next date for hearing his anticipatory bail prayer. Raju was also directed by the court to appear before the Netaji Nagar police station once a week.
As carried in AA