The Congress on Saturday alleged that the BJP's "Operation Lotus" in Jharkhand has been exposed after police stopped a car ferrying three MLAs of the grand old party with a huge amount of cash in West Bengal's Howrah.
The Congress has been accusing the BJP of trying to topple its coalition government in Jharkhand by poaching its MLAs. "The BJP's 'Operation Lotus' in Jharkhand stands exposed tonight in Howrah. The game plan of 'Hum Do' in Delhi is to do in Jharkhand what they did in Maharashtra by installing E-D duo," Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Twitter.
Acting on a tip-off, the SUV in which Congress MLAs Irfan Ansari, Rajesh Kachchap and Naman Bixal Kongari were travelling was intercepted on National Highway-16 at Ranihati in Panchla police station area.
"We had specific inputs that a huge amount of money was being transported in a black car. We started checking the vehicles and intercepted this SUV in which three Jharkhand MLAs were travelling. A huge amount of cash was found in the vehicle," Howrah Superintendent of Police (Rural) Swati Bhangalia said.
"Cash counting machines are being brought in to ascertain the total amount. The MLAs are also being questioned about the source of the money and where it was being taken to," she added.
Besides the MLAs, there were two other people in the SUV, which carried a board mentioning "MLA Jamtara Jharkhand" along with the Congress' election symbol, police said.
Ansari is the MLA of Jamtara, while Kachchap is the legislator of Khijri in Ranchi district and Kongari is the MLA of Kolebira in Simdega district.
The Jharkhand Congress claimed the huge amount of cash was part of a conspiracy by the BJP to topple the Hemant Soren government, of which it is a part along with Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal.
(With PTI inputs)