BJP leader held for running sex racket in Bengal, party denies association

According to police officials, Sabyasachi Ghosh, whom they claimed as a local BJP leader, along with his 10 associates, was apprehended during a police raid at a hotel in the Sankrail area on Thursday evening

Howrah: The police on Friday, February 23, claimed to have arrested “a local BJP leader” along with 10 others on charges of running a sex racket in a hotel in West Bengal’s Howrah district, while the state’s main opposition party denied any association with the accused individuals.

According to police officials, Sabyasachi Ghosh, whom they claimed as a local BJP leader, along with his 10 associates, was apprehended during a police raid at a hotel in the Sankrail area on Thursday evening.

The incident has sparked a political furore, with the ruling Trinamool Congress accusing the BJP of shielding leaders involved in the sex trade.

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In a statement, the BJP denied any association with the accused, labelling the arrest as a “desperate attempt” by the police to deflect attention from alleged incidents of sexual abuse in Sandeshkhali, where women have accused TMC leaders of the offence.

“During the police raid, two minor girls and four women were rescued from the hotel owned by Sabyasachi Ghosh. The four women were taken to Liluah Home and the two minors to the Child Welfare Committee. The arrested people had been running the sex racket by bringing in girls and women to the hotel located near National Highway 116,” a police official said.

An officer of Sankrail police station claimed Sabyasachi Ghosh is “associated with the BJP’s Howrah unit”.

“The investigation is still on. We are waiting for more leads,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha claimed that the TMC is trying to weave a narrative to show the BJP in poor light which will have no takers.

“The TMC is desperately trying to wriggle out of Sandeshkhali fire, which has engulfed the ruling party and established the role of their local satraps in exploiting women and committing atrocities on locals for years,” Sinha, a former BJP state president, told PTI.

Referring to Ghosh’s arrest, Sinha emphasized that if anyone is found guilty, the law will take its course, asserting that the BJP will not shield wrongdoers, unlike the TMC.

Later in the evening, the BJP, Howrah unit in a statement denied any association with Ghosh and dubbed it as an attempt by the Bengal police to divert attention from Sandeshkhali, which has been on a boil for the last two weeks.

The riverine area of North 24 Parganas district was in the news since ED officials were attacked by a mob, when they went to search the premises of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh on January 5 in connection with a corruption case.

“Our West Bengal unit denies having any association with the accused as we wish to put on record that Sabyasachi Ghosh holds no position in the party.This is yet another desperate attempt by the WB police to distract from the issue of rape and torture in Sandeshkhali in order to protect Mamata Banerjee,” the statement signed by Howrah district BJP unit Chief Ramaprasad Bhattacharya said.

“People of West Bengal want to know where is Shahjahan Sheikh. This is the only question Mamata Banerjee and West Bengal Police need to answer,” the statement added.

The ruling Trinamool Congress, which has been facing opposition flak over alleged sexual abuse by some of its leaders in Sandeshkhali, slammed the saffron camp over the “arrest of its leader for alleged involvement in flesh trade”.

“@BJP4Bengalleader Sabyasachi Ghosh caught running a PROSTITUTION RACKET of MINOR GIRLS in his hotel in Howrah’s Sankrail. The Police arrested 11 accused & rescued 6 victims from the spot. THIS IS BJP. They don’t protect BETIS, they protect PIMPS!” the TMC posted on X.

TMC state youth wing President Sayani Ghosh posted “BJP is working overtime to malign Smt Mamata Banerjee’s image. The same BJP’s Howrah Kisan Morcha Secretary Sabyasachi Ghosh has been arrested from a hotel in Sankrail for running a prostitution racket involving minor girls.”

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