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ED files money laundering case after clash between Trinamool Congress factions in Kolkata




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New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has initiated a case under PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) in connection with a clash that broke out between two factions of the Trinamool Congress in south Kolkata’s Garden Reach area on 30 March.

During the clash, the two groups had fired at each other and even hurled bombs. Police were also pelted with stones, leaving some personnel injured. Some Trinamool workers also sustained injuries in the clash.

According to sources in the police, the factions clashed over the distribution of ration meant to help local residents during the lockdown.

Seven people have been arrested in the case so far.

A senior ED official told ThePrint that the agency has started probing the money trail and also the funds spent on acquiring illegal arms and explosives, which were used in the clash, when the country is under lockdown.

Also read: Bombs, bullets fly as Covid-19 lockdown fails to end violence in ‘politically-charged’ Bengal

What the FIR by ED says

According to the FIR lodged by the ED last week, there are reasons to believe that an “offence of money laundering has been committed”. 

“It is suspected that the above crimes have been committed for the purpose of creating fear and acquiring monetary benefits illegally. It is further suspected that proceeds of the crime generated through commission of crime and related criminal activities, have been laundered and used for committing above offences,” stated the FIR, accessed by ThePrint.

“Section 25 & 27 of Arms Act and 3 & 4 of the Explosive Substances Act, are scheduled offences under PMLA, 2002,” it added. 

The ED’s FIR is based on the police FIR lodged at the Garden Reach police station on 30 March.

The police had slapped charges under sections of the Arms Act and Explosive Substance Act, along with other sections of the IPC, against 13 accused, including some prominent TMC leaders. Of these 13, seven have been arrested. 

A senior Kolkata Police official, however, said they were not aware of the case started by the ED. “We are not aware, but our investigation is on,” he added. 

Garden Reach — a crime hotspot 

Garden Reach is also referred to as the port area, which has a very high crime rate.

The area mostly sees clashes related to extortion and share of profits over cargo handling and other port-related crimes, said police.

In 2013, a policeman was shot dead during a student union election at a college in the area. It was a result of a clash between Trinamool Congress and Congress workers.

Also read: Don’t celebrate Bengal, news of home delivery of booze is fake. Be happy with sweets


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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