BJP Mahila Morcha leader Juhi Chowdhury, who has been booked in the Jalpaiguri child trafficking case, was arrested by the CID from Batasi area of Darjeeling district on Tuesday night. Officials said her location was traced to Batasi in Kharibari, along the Indo-Nepal border area, on Monday. “She was arrested by our team from Batasi on Tuesday night,” said CID DIG (Operations) Nishat Parvej. The CID said she had taken shelter at a relative’s place.
This comes hours after Chandana Chakraborty, the key accused arrested in the case, alleged that Chowdhury had met BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and party MP Roopa Ganguly in connection to the racket.
Claiming that she was being made a scapegoat, Chakraborty told mediapersons in Siliguri: “Juhi has been associated with such work for the last three years… She had assured me of help after I had approached her since she knew big leaders in Delhi. She had met Kailash Vijayvargiya and Roopa Ganguly. I am innocent… if anything illegal has happened, only Juhi knows about it.” She said so while being taken for interrogation by the CID in Siliguri.
When contacted, Vijayvargiya denied all allegations and claimed that this was an attempt of the ruling Trinamool Congress to malign the image of BJP in the state. “There is no question of my involvement; I don’t know anyone called Chandana. I guess I have met Juhi Chakraborty once. All these allegations are utter rubbish. We all know that in Bengal, the police act only on the orders of the Trinamool. Earlier as well, BJP leaders like J P Mazumdar and others have been framed. This is yet another attempt,” he said.
Asked whether the two leaders would be called for questioning, a senior CID officer said: “It’s a part of investigation… if need be, they will be called.”
ADG (CID) Rajesh Kumar added: “Those who have been named and those persons, whose role under cloud, are under CID scanner… All necessary action will be taken.”
“Chakraborty wanted to meet a top woman BJP leader in Delhi with Juhi’s help but before they could do so, she was arrested. Juhi had also assured Chandana that she would arrange around 22 lakh as donation for her NGO Bimala Sishu Griho,” said an official.
The CID had received a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body under the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, about “irregularities” prevailing in three homes run by Chakraborty in January.
Investigation into the three homes — Bimala Sishu Griho, Ashroy Short Stay Home and North Bengal People’s Development Committee — had led to the arrest of Chakraborty and her associate Sonali Mondal for reportedly selling babies to France, US, Singapore and Spain. Both have been sent to 13-day police custoday. Later, Chakraborty’s brother Manas Bhoumick was also arrested. During their interrogation, the name of Juhi Chowdhury had come up, leading the CID to lodge a suo motu case against her.