Updated: May 22, 2018 10:40:45 am
A DAY after BJP removed Juhi Chowdhury as its BJP Mahila Morcha general secretary, the CID interrogated her face to face with Chandana Chakraborty — the prime accused in the Jalpaiguri child trafficking racket — in Pintel village of the district. Sources said the officials questioned them about the “influential people” they had allegedly met, seeking help in running Chakraborty’s child care centres, which were operating illegally without a license from the Centre Adoption Resource Authority, a statutory body under the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
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“We corroborated their statements and found leads about money being exchanged between the two. Some more people are likely to be called for interrogation,” said an official. Sources added that the list included two senior BJP leaders, Chowdhury’s father Rabindranath Chowdhury and her friend — who is allegedly a member of the BJP youth wing — and the owner of a resort in Dooars.
“Chandana was to handover the resort to Juhi once she received all documents needed for the smooth running of her homes… The deal was that Juhi would also assure government funding for her illegal homes,” said a source.
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Chowdhury was arrested by the CID from Batasi area of Darjeeling district late Tuesday. The arrest had come within 24 hours after Chakraborty alleged that Chowdhury had met BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and party MP Roopa Ganguly in connection to the racket.
Officials said Chowdhury went underground after the police lodged a suo motu case against her on February 19. “She was in touch with some influential people with the help of her friend, who helped her take shelter in Nepal. On Sunday, when Juhi was convinced that she could not be traced, she came to Batasi and took shelter in a house owned by her friend’s relative,” said an official.
“Harbouring an accused is also a crime. The house from where she was arrested in Batasi belongs to the uncle of her close friend, who is a youth leader of a party,” the official added.
“Chakraborty had turned to Chowdhury for help to procure required documents and license for Bimala Sishu Griho. Chowdhury, despite knowing that there were discrepancies in the adoption process followed by the home and that it did not have a license from CARA, kept lobbying for Chakraborty. Eventually, Chowdhury planned to take over these homes and was making arrangements to open other such centres,” said an official.
The CID had received a complaint from CARA about “irregularities” prevailing in Chakraborty’s three homes — Bimala Sishu Griho, Ashroy Short Stay Home and North Bengal People’s Development Committee — in January. Following this, 14 infants were recovered from Bimala Sishu Griho and Chakraborty and her associate Sonali Mondal were arrested for reportedly selling babies to France, US, Singapore and Spain. Later, Chakraborty’s brother Manas Bhoumick was also arrested. During their interrogation, the name of Chowdhury had come up.
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