Updated: Sun, 31 Jul 2022 12:54 PM IST
The Congress on Sunday suspended its Jharkhand MLAs - Irfan Ansari from Jamtara, Rajesh Kachhap from Khijri and Naman Bixal from Kolebira - a day after they were caught with huge cash from West Bengal's Howrah.
"The three MLAs, who were held with a mountain of cash yesterday, have been suspended from the party with immediate effect," Avinash Pande, General Secretary and In-charge of Jharkhand Congress, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The three MLAs were travelling in an SUV on National Highway (NH) 16 at Ranihati on Saturday evening when they were caught by the West Bengal Police and allegedly recovered a huge amount of cash from them.
"We had specific inputs that a huge amount of money was being transported in a black car. We started checking the vehicles and intercepted this SUV in which three Jharkhand MLAs were travelling. A huge amount of cash was found in the vehicle," Howrah Superintendent of Police (Rural) Swati Bhangalia said, as reported by news agency PTI.
Following this, the Congress alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to topple the Jharkhand government like it did in Maharashtra. However, it said that the saffron party's 'Operation Lotus' has been exposed in Jharkhand.
"Everyone saw how Assam became the focal point to topple governments, drama happened for 15 days and ultimately the Maharashtra govt was toppled... this indicates that there's a conspiracy to destabilize the Jharkhand government. Things will be clearer in coming times," Jharkhand Congress chief Rajesh Thakur told ANI.
However, the BJP was quick to hit back at Congress and said that the grand old party wants to hide their corrupt practices in Jharkhand. Leading the charge for the BJP was Union Minister Arjun Munda, who said probe agencies are only doing their job based on facts.
"The Congress is making baseless allegations. Congress is accusing BJP of destabilizing the government in Jharkhand to hide its corrupt practices. Congress party has a habit of levelling baseless allegations against others to hide their own mistakes under the carpet," he told ANI.
"Trying to cover up your mistakes with words will not do. The truth is visible to everyone. A huge amount of cash was recovered from their car. They (Congress MLAs) must explain where all the cash recovered from the car came from. They have to tell what were they doing in Bengal with a huge amount of cash," he added.
In Jharkhand, the JMM-Congress alliance is in power. They have 47 MLAs in the 81-member Jharkhand legislative assembly. The BJP, on the other hand, has 25 MLAs in the House.