West Bengal BJP leader held near Nepal border for child trafficking
BJP leader's arrest comes a day after Chandana Chakraborty, arrested in connection with the scandal earlier this month, blamed her for the wrongdoing.
A suspect in the child trafficking racket in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury was arrested on Monday night close to the India-Nepal border in Darjeeling district by CID sleuths.
The Special Superintendent (north), CID, Ajay Prasad said that Chowdhury was picked up from Batasi area under Kharibari police station in Siliguri sub-division. She was on the run for past few days after her name was linked to the case of trafficking of at least 17 children.
Chowdhury was brought for interrogation to the Pintel Village, where the CID has set up a temporary camp and will be produced in court on Wednesday. Her arrest comes a day after Chandana Chakraborty, arrested in connection with the scandal earlier this month, blamed her for the wrongdoing.
Chakraborty, chairperson of Jalpaiguri-based child adoption centre Bimala Sishu Griho, was arrested along with Chief Adoption Officer Sonali Mondal for allegedly selling at least 17 children through shady adoption deals. Later, Manas Bhowmik was also arrested. Chakraborty had told the police that Chowdhury, the district women's wing chief, had reached out to the BJP's Roopa Ganguly and Kailash Vijayvargiya for help.
Her links with the woman BJP leader are also being probed.
She admitted going to Delhi with Chowdhury to seek “help” for her organisation and claimed the BJP leader did all the negotiations with the senior leadership while she was in a different room. “Juhi assured me she would sort out all the issues,” Chakraborty said.
“I haven’t talked to anyone, Juhi did. She might have talked to (BJP leaders) Roopa Ganguly and Kailash Vijayvargiya. I was sitting in a separate room. We are innocent. We will definitely help in the investigation,” she added.
Vijayvargiya was quick to hit back, accusing the CID of being guided by politics rather than an impartial probe. In a tweet on Wednesday, he accused the CID of working as a "Conspiracy Invention Department" rather than being led by the available evidence.
However, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh denied the allegations and said that Chowdhury was being victimised as part of a larger political conspiracy.
“Juhi was not a part of their (child adoption centre) committee. She has been dragged into the case as she went to Delhi with her (Chakraborty)... If Juhi is found guilty, the law will take its course,” Ghosh said in Kolkata.
According to the CID, four people have been arrested in the racket for selling at least 17 children to Indians and foreigners. On paper, the NGO that Chakraborty headed, showed that she had given the children for adoption.