Black money heist case fuels internal feud in Kerala BJP

Black money heist case fuels internal feud in Kerala BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kerala unit has landed in a tight spot after several party leaders were questioned in connection with a black money heist case in Thrissur. The investigators believe that the looted havala money was meant for the party’s pre-election activities in the state.

The sensational case has not only put the saffron in an embarrassing position, but has also reignited the internal feud even among its local leaders.

On Sunday, a BJP activist was stabbed after two groups of party cadres clashed at Vadanappally in Thrissur over a Facebook post on the highway robbery. Police said Kiran, 27, was stabbed by another person said to have a criminal background following a heated argument at a COVID vaccination centre. 

Kiran was rushed to a private hospital in Thrissur where his condition is said to be stable.

On Monday, Rishi Palpu, OBC Morcha vice-president, alleged that party’s Thrissur district general secretary K.R. Hari had made death threats against him over his Facebook post on the highway heist case. The BJP district committee, however, has denied this allegation and suspended Palpu for six years.

It all started with the alleged robbery of Rs 3.5 crore from a vehicle on the national highway near Kodakara between Thrissur and Ernakulam on April 3, just three days before the Assembly elections. The robbery came to light after the driver of the vehicle, Shamjeer Shamsudeen, filed a police complaint on April 7, saying  he was ferrying Rs 25 lakh belonging to A.K. Dharmarajan, an RSS functionary in Kozhikode, and that the money was looted.

The police have arrested 19 people in the case and the ensuing investigation revealed that the looted money was as much as Rs 3.5 crore. The police, however, recovered only Rs 1 crore so far.

Several BJP leaders have been questioned in connection with the case. 

Sathish, a secretary at the BJP office in Thrissur, told the police on Monday that he had booked a room for both Dharmarajan and Shamsudeen at a hotel in the city under the direction of party’s district leaders. G. Girish, another office bearer of the party, had earlier told the investigators that he knows Dharmarajan.

According to local reports, police have confirmed that the origin of the havala money is a BJP office in Karnataka.

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