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Coal mafia-turned-BJP worker held, sent to judicial custody

KOLKATA: The arrest of coal mafia Raju Jha, who is also a BJP worker, has come as a major embarrassment to the saffron party.

Jha was arrested while he had come to depose before Bankura court in connection with an old case on Monday.

The court has remanded him in 14 days judicial custody. There were speculations among local leadership in West Burdwan that Raju would have been fielded on BJP's ticket from an Assembly constituency in West Burdwan district.

Raju may have appeared before the court in Bankura for bail in a pending case.A case related to the coal smuggling was pending before Bankura court since 2005. Earlier on one occasion, he had sent a dummy on his behalf to appear before the court.

However when he was asked to furnish his identity card, he failed. Follwing this, Jha had fled apprehending arrest and the court had issued arrest warrant against him.

A few days back at a rally at Palashdiha in Durgapur, Jha had joined the saffron party in presence of state president Dilip Ghosh and BJP leader Arjun Singh. He was also a frequenter at BJP rallies in the district. He also took part in Parivartan Yatra organised by BJP recently.

He also put up flexes and banners in Durgapur and its adjoining areas identifying himself as a BJP party worker.

BJP district president Lakshman Ghorai claimed ignorance about Jha's arrest and said he would have to find out what led to the same. TMC district president Apurba Sarkar said, "BJP had inducted a coal mafia into their party. There were several cases pending against him. His arrest was imminent. Now law will take its own course."

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