West Bengal BJP leader Rakesh Singh arrested in narcotics case involving Pamela Goswami

Published : February 23, 2021 22:51 IST

West Bengal BJP leader Rakesh Singh. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Three days after two leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) were arrested for possession of cocaine, another leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from West Bengal, Rakesh Singh, was nabbed by the police in connection with the narcotics case. On February 23, Rakesh, who is also known to be close to the BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, was picked up from Bardhaman district when he was apparently trying to flee from the State. His two sons were also arrested from Kolkata.

On February 19, Pamela Goswami, the State secretary of the BJYM, and her colleague Prabir Kumar Dey were caught by the police with around 90 grams of cocaine on them. Following her arrest, Pamela blamed Rakesh for being responsible for the arrest. “I want a CID probe. Rakesh Singh, who is close to Kailash Vijayvargiya, is behind all this,” she said while being taken into police custody. The police sent a notice to Rakesh to appear before it on February 23, but he said he would not be able to go before February 26.

Rakesh had moved the Calcutta High Court seeking protection from arrest and had tried to secure a stay order on the police summon. However, the court dismissed his plea, saying it found no reason to intervene in the matter. On the afternoon of February 23, a large police force landed up at Rakesh’s house with a search warrant but were prevented by his sons from entering the premises. After three hours of negotiation, the police managed to enter the house and carry out a search.

The State BJP is seeing a conspiracy behind the development. Party spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “We will take necessary steps for the way in which our national general secretary’s name (Kailash Vijayvargiya) was being deliberately maligned.” However, the cocaine case has come as a big embarrassment for the party ahead of the Assembly election, particularly since it has been relentless in its attack of the ruling Trinamool Congress’ alleged corruption.

Earlier in the day, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had questioned Rujira Banerjee, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s wife, in connection with a ‘coal theft’ case registered in November 2020. Abhishek, a Trinamool Lok Sabha MP, is also considered to be the heir apparent to the party leadership.