More than Rs 1 lakh has been seized from BJP candidate for West Bengal's Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency and former lPS officer Bharati Ghosh and an FIR lodged against her and those accompanying her for threatening public servants, police said on Friday.
"Bharati Ghosh was travelling in her car on Thursday night when we seized Rs 1,13,895 from her bag. The amount has been sent to the treasury," a police officer said.
Sharing the details of the FIR, a senior police officer of West Midnapore district said: "An FIR has been registered because they had obstructed a public servant from performing his duty. It has nothing to do with the cash seizure as the steps regarding that will be taken by the Election Commission".
According to him, based on prior information the Static Surveillance Team (SST) team had put up a Naka checking and told the occupants they want to search the car in which the candidate was sitting. They refused and escaped for almost 2.5 km and was intercepted again near Pingla police station.
As per the Election Commission's mandate, there are videographers in the SST. They also snatched the camera from the person recording it and deleted the video, he said.
"After a lot of resistance, the candidate had to yield and the SST team recovered Rs 1.13 lakh. The officers were threatened and abused in the name of religion," the officer said.
He revealed that the officer happened to be a Muslim man and was told not to touch Ghosh's bag.
Ghosh said she was not carrying the money illegally. She also said that the total money did not belong to her.
"It cannot be a crime when I am lawfully using my election fund after withdrawing it from the bank. How can they seize the money that belongs to me? They were not letting others sign the seizure list and forcing me to sign," she said.
Regarding this the officer said, "A person can carry any amount of money in India. But during elections if a candidate carries more than Rs 50,000 he/she has to furnish proper documents, which Ghosh failed to do".
"If she provides the bank documents she will get back the money".
A local Trinamool Congress leader said that they had prior information that in different areas voters had been promised a sum of Rs 500-1,000.
"The required steps have been taken and a specific case has been filed by the police. We have sent the factual report to the Election Commission and necessary action will be taken," said P. Mohan Gandhi, District Electoral officer.
Reacting to the incident, BJP state President Dilip Ghosh said: "If the police have seized the money, there will be a case. The law will take its course".
In the Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency which votes on May 12, Ghosh is pitted against against Trinamool's celebrity candidate Deepak Adhikary alias Dev.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)