Suspended Jharkhand Congress MLA Irfan Ansari was grilled by Enforcement Directorate (ED) detectives for more than 10 hours here in connection with the seizure of ₹49 lakh in cash in West Bengal from him and two other party legislators last year.
Ansari, who was questioned in the federal agency’s zonal office, claimed that baseless allegations were levelled against him to malign his image.
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“I gave possible replies to the questions of the ED. I also assured them to provide full cooperation in the investigation and will be present whenever called,” he told reporters after coming out of the office.
“I am not involved in any conspiracy to topple the government,” Ansari said.
Ansari and other Congress MLAs Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal were arrested after their vehicle was intercepted on National Highway 16 at Panchla in Howrah district on July 30 and nearly ₹49 lakh in cash was found in the car. They were then suspended by the party.
The MLAs, who are now out on bail, claimed that the money was meant for buying sarees for an Adivasi festival in Jharkhand. The investigation into the case was later handed over to the state CID by the police authorities.
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The Congress is a part of the JMM-led government in Jharkhand.
Congress MLA Kumar Jaimangal Singh alias Anup Singh had lodged a complaint with Ranchi’s Argora police station, alleging that the three legislators had offered him ₹10 crore and a ministerial berth for toppling the JMM-led government in Jharkhand.
Ansari said that the ED asked him about the complaint.
“I told them (ED) that I did not have any discussion with Singh for the past one year. I also told them that the money recovered in West Bengal was ours,” he said.
The three MLAs had earlier said they were going to Kolkata to buy saris with the seized money.
On December 24 last year, ED had questioned Jaimangal Singh for more than nine hours in connection with the case.
Singh had claimed that he was not summoned as an accused but as a complainant in the case.
The ED had summoned Ansari on January 13 but he had sought two weeks to appear before it.
The ED is investigating the money laundering aspect of the case.