Congress suspends 3 Jharkhand MLAs held in West Bengal with huge amount of cash
The Congress on Sunday suspended three Jharkhand MLAs who were allegedly caught with a huge amount of cash in West Bengal's Howrah and accused the BJP of attempting to topple its coalition government in the state.
However, it asserted that the coalition government led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is ''completely secure and stable'' and would complete its term.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, party general secretary and Jharkhand in-charge Avinash Pande said Congress president Sonia Gandhi has suspended the three MLAs with immediate effect.
Acting on a tip-off, the West Bengal Police on Saturday evening intercepted a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in which Congress MLAs Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari were travelling, and allegedly found nearly Rs 50 lakh in cash in the car.
After questioning, the lawmakers were formally arrested on Sunday afternoon and subsequently, remanded in the West Bengal CID's custody for 10 days.
Pande said the three MLAs were allegedly involved in a plot to weaken the Congress Legislature Party in Jharkhand and also in ''misleading'' other legislators. ''The party leadership is aware of who all are part of the conspiracy and will take action at an appropriate time,'' he added.
''We have information about everyone. In the coming days, be it any public representative, any office-bearer of the Congress or any worker, whoever is found connected to or involved in this, the party will take strict action against them,'' Pande added.
He asserted that the JMM-led government is completely ''secure and stable'' and the coalition MLAs, ''barring a few black sheep'', will fight such attempts in a united manner.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attempting to topple the Jharkhand government, Pande said democracy is being ''shredded to pieces'' as elected governments are being destabilised in a brazen manner.
''Efforts are being made for the last two years to destabilise the government in Jharkhand and from time to time, legislators are being contacted, threatened and enticed,'' he alleged.
An FIR was also registered against BJP leaders in this connection some days ago, the Congress leader said.
''In these efforts, the chief minister of a state is involved, who is contacting MLAs directly, and Union ministers are threatening MLAs,'' he alleged, without naming anyone.
Pande also alleged that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was misused to effect a change of government in Maharashtra.
Congress's media department head Pawan Khera said government agencies, instead of doing their job, are working as an extended arm of the BJP to destabilise elected governments.
On Saturday, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wrote on Twitter: ''The BJP's 'Operation Lotus' in Jharkhand stands exposed tonight in Howrah. The game plan of 'Hum Do' in Delhi is to do in Jharkhand what they did in Maharashtra by installing E-D duo.'' The Jharkhand Congress has also claimed that the huge amount of cash allegedly recovered from the SUV in Howrah was part of a conspiracy hatched by the BJP to topple the Hemant Soren government, of which the grand old party is a part, along with Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Besides the MLAs, there were two other people in the SUV, which had a board mentioning ''MLA Jamtara Jharkhand'' along with the Congress's election symbol, police said.
Ansari is the MLA of Jamtara, while Kachchap represents the Khijri constituency in Ranchi district in the Assembly and Kongari is the legislator from Kolebira in Simdega district.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)