Thrissur/Thiruvananthapuram: The special investigation team probing the Kodakara highway hawala heist case has claimed to have found more evidence linking the black money to BJP leaders.
Police said Dharmarajan, who had lodged the complaint of robbery, contacted eight BJP leaders, including State secretary K Surendran, from the crime scene at Kodakara immediately after the incident on April 3.
Investigators, who checked Dharmarajan’s call list, hinted that he had also contacted Surendran’s son and BJP general secretary in-charge of organizational affairs after the robbery. The cyber police wing have collected collaborative evidence.
Police have now decided to interrogate two senior BJP-RSS leaders. P N Eshwaran, RSS’s prantha kariyavahak, and the organisation’s north zone secretary K P Suresh will be summoned for questioning.
The interrogation is to ascertain reports of an additional Rs 6 crore that was brought to Thrissur, and to know where it was spent.
Meanwhile, attempts to recover the remaining Rs 2.25 crore are yet to make any progress. Though police were told during interrogation that the money was kept in the houses of accused persons from Kannur, the cash could not be found.
Police are suspecting that the information on the raid was leaked to the accused by a few police officers in Kannur, who were tipped off by the SIT members. Despite searching for the cash for two days, it could not be found.
The probe was launched following Dharmarajan’s complaint that Rs 25 lakh had been robbed after faking an accident on the Thrissur-Ernakulam stretch of the national highway at Kodakara. Investigation revealed that a total of Rs 3.5 crore was looted, and police confirmed the recovery of Rs 1.25 crore.
The recovery of Rs 1.25 crore augmented the suspicion that the money was brought into the State through hawala channels to fund BJP’s election campaign. Police earlier said that they had information on the remaining cash, and hence the case cannot be taken forward without recovering the loot.
Two teams conducted the preliminary investigation and found the Rs 1.25 crore after interrogating 12 accused persons. Some of the accused getting infected with coronavirus delayed their police custody, and it too hampered the probe.
The probe is now focused on the source of the black money and the hands it has changed.
Meanwhile, police interrogated Poothottu P R Rejil alias Tutu, a former CPM worker and an accused in the murder of Youth Morcha leader Sathyesh. He was questioned based on a tip-off that Rs 3 lakh of the robbed cash was with him. The said cash, too, was not found. Rejil was let off after questioning.
Police had searched a few places in Wayanad, too, in vain for the money.
ED to take over probe
Meanwhile, it was learned the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has received the approval of its Delhi headquarters to take over the probe. The central agency will take over the investigation in a week.
The ED has assigned its team in Kochi to probe the case. Though the incident had happened in the jurisdiction of ED’s Kozhikode unit, the probe team will be led by an IRS officer in the rank of deputy director in Kochi.
The central agency will begin its probe after submitting a report the High Court had sought. The case would be registered under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act.