THE KOLKATA POLICE Tuesday arrested Rakesh Singh, West Bengal state committee member of the BJP and convenor of the party’s basti (slum) cell, from Galsi in Purba Burdwan district in connection with a case in which 23-year-old Pamela Goswami, one of the state secretaries of the BJP Yuva Morcha, was arrested for allegedly possessing 76 gm of heroin.
Singh was summoned by the police under Section 160 CrPC after his name cropped up during the investigation in the drug case. He had conveyed to the police in writing he would not be available since he had a prior appointment in Delhi. His petition against the summons was turned down by the Calcutta High Court.
Police sources said he has been taken to the local police station but did not confirm his arrest yet. His two sons, Sivam Singh, 24, and Suvam Singh, 22, have also been picked up by Kolkata police for allegedly disrupting police officials from discharging their duties. They have been sent to the central lockup in Lal Bazaar.
A day after her arrest on February 19, Pamela Goswami had alleged that Rakesh Singh had hatched a conspiracy to frame her and also named a senior BJP leader. “I have been framed by BJP leader Rakesh Singh, who is close to a senior BJP leader. I want CID to probe this. I have all the evidence,” she said when she was being taken to the NDPS court in Alipur.
Kolkata police personnel speak to Rakesh Singh’s son before searching the former’s house in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Express photo: Shashi Ghosh)
On Tuesday afternoon, officers of the narcotics and anti-rowdy section of the Detective Department of Kolkata Police searched Singh’s residence for about three hours. Police sources said Singh was not at his residence then, and his sons allegedly obstructed them from carrying out their duties. “The police could enter the house only after two hours,” said Sujit Chakraborty, Assistant Commissioner of Police, anti-rowdy section.
“Fourteen people entered my house. They could not find anything. They told me to come for interrogation… We asked the police to first send a notice,” Subham said shortly before he was picked up by police.
Before joining BJP in March 2019, Singh was in the Congress and had contested the Assembly elections in 2016 from the Kolkata Port seat, but lost to Trinamool Congress. He has more than two dozen criminal cases against him and was one of the accused in the case related to vandalism of the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar during Amit Shah’s roadshow in May 2019.
A day before Pamela was arrested, she had a conversation with TMC Spokesperson Kunal Ghosh. When contacted, Ghosh told The Indian Express, “Yes, she had messaged me on Thursday that she and a few other people holding good portfolios wanted to meet me. I told her I was traveling, and if she needed, she could call me. Minutes later, I got a call. She was disturbed, wanted to meet me, and was planning to come out of something (sic).” When asked about allegations that this was a TMC conspiracy, he said, “I don’t know who she is and that was the first time we spoke. Her arrest shows clear-cut groupism in BJP.”
Two years ago, Pamela Goswami’s father Kaushik Goswami had written to Kolkata Police Commissioner, the Joint Commissioner of Police and the Jadavpur police station, alleging that one of Pamela’s friends, Prabir De, had allegedly exposed her to drugs. The police had kept a watch on the duo and arrested them on February 19 based on a tip-off.
Pamela was a model and had acted in a few television serials. On July 21, 2019, she and two other actors Rimjhim Mitra and Surojit Choudhury had joined the BJP in the presence of BJP State President Dilip Ghosh.