Siliguri/Kolkata: CID has arrested three police officers and two Indian Army personnel, including a Lieutenant Colonel, in north Bengal on charges of gobbling up Rs 28-crore gold that was seized from smugglers.
The Army personnel arrested are ~ Lt Col Paban Brahmma and jawan Dasrath Singh ~ both posted at Hasimara Military Station in Alipurduar district.
The three police officers are ~ Jaigaon sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Anirudha Thakur, who is a West Bengal Police Service cadre, Barobisha police outpost O-C Kamalendra Narayan, and Hasimara police outpost sub-inspector Satyendranath Roy.
Acting on a specific tip-off from the Centre’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CID officers detained the five last night.
Following an overnight questioning at Hasimara police outpost by senior CID officers in the presence of north Bengal inspector general of police Anand Kumar and Alipurduar superintendent of police Sunil Yadav, the five were arrested today. They were produced in Alipurduar court during the day, which has remanded them to CID custody.
CID’s DIG (Operations) Nishat Pervez has told news-persons that the five have been arrested under anti-corruption laws. “We have recovered from them 15 gold bars each weighing one kg. They have failed to give a satisfactory reply as to wherefrom they got the gold bars. Further investigation is on,” he said.
CID sources have added that on the basis of a tip-off from the Army, police at Jaigaon had seized 15 kgs gold bars on 10 September while being smuggled into north Bengal from Bhutan. However, instead of mentioning this seizure in official records, the racket led by Jaigaon SDPO Anirudha Thakur gobbled up the gold bars that are worth about Rs 28-crore.
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence somehow got a wind of this and passed on the input to the CID headquarters in Kolkata. Acting on the tip-off, a CID team started keeping an eye on Thakur and his subordinate police officers. Once the CID team got solid evidence on the matter, Thakur was detained yesterday.
On being grilled by CID officers, Thakur broke down and revealed the names of his aides in the racket including the two Army personnel. Following this, the remaining four were also summoned to Hasimara police outpost and eventually all the five were arrested today.
CID suspects that the seized gold consignment is not the only one that the racket gobbled up and there could be many such instances in the past few months. The possibility of the involvement of more police and Army personnel has not been ruled out.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters at Nabanna in Kolkata that as soon as she was informed about this, she at once gave a go-ahead for the arrest of te police officers. “They do not have a right to be in the police force,” she said as regards the three arrested policemen.
The Army has not come out with a statement on the arrest of its Lt Col and jawan as yet.