Child trafficking accused BJP leader sent to 12 days CID custody

Siliguri, March 1 : BJP leader Juhi Chowdhury, arrested for her alleged connection to a child trafficking racket in West Bengal, was on Wednesday sent to 12 days CID custody, a senior CID official said.

Amid tight security and presence of a large number of media persons, Chowdhury was produced in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Siliguri, after her Tuesday night arrest from Batasia area close to the India-Nepal border in Darjeeling.

While the prosecution sought her CID remand, the defence counsel moved for bail.

After hearing both sides, the judge rejected the bail application and sent her to CID custody.

“Chowdhury has been remanded to 12 days of CID custody,” said Additional Director General, CID Rajesh Kumar, claiming she was directly involved in new born child trafficking.

She is the fourth person arrested in the Jalpaiguri district case which has created a storm in Bengal with its political connotations.

Chowdhury, who was on the run for the last few days after her name was linked to the case involving trafficking of at least 17 children, was brought to Matigara police station here for interrogation.

CID sources said the agency has recovered a diary with detailed entries about her connection with the traffickers from fellow accused Manas Bhowmik who was arrested earlier this month.

According to the diary, Chowdhury accompanied prime accused Chandana Chakraborty to Delhi on February 2 and held a meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.

They were supposed to meet a Union Minister to discuss about the adoption centres in Jalpaiguri, sources said.

Following the court order, the BJP state committee removed the Jalpaiguri district women wing (Mohila morcha) leader from the party, stating her activity has harmed the image of BJP.

“Chakraborty went to Delhi with a child trafficking accused woman without the party’s consent. She is removed from BJP as her activity is harmful for the party’s image,” said BJP state president Dilip Ghosh.

Chowdhury’s arrest came on a day when Chakraborty, arrested in connection with the scandal earlier, blamed her for wrongdoing.

Chakraborty, chairperson of Jalpaiguri-based child adoption centre Bimala Sishu Griho, was arrested with Chief Adoption Officer Sonali Mondal for selling at least 17 children through shady adoption deals.

Chakraborty on Tuesday admitted going to Delhi with Chowdhury to seek “help” for her organisation and claimed that 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 said.

On Wednesday morning, Ghosh said that his party’s legal cell will try to get Chowdhury out on bail.

Ghosh said the party was not calling her innocent or guilty at this stage, but the law of the land should prevail.

“Juhi is our party worker. I know her. Now suddenly her name has been linked into the case. So we are taking our own time. That doesn’t mean that we are calling her innocent.

“She has to be tried according to law. If she is guilty, the party will not take her side. She should be punished as per law of the land. Our legal cell will try to secure her bail because till now we don’t hold her guilty,” Ghosh said.

Queried about Chakraborty naming her, Ganguly shot back: “Why should I respond to what an accused has said?”


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