Parl security breach: Police interrogated mastermind Lalit Jha’s friend in Kolkata

Delhi Police has arrested Lalit Mohan Jha, the sixth accused in the incident of breaching the security of Parliament. Jha along with one person reached the duty path police station in the national capital on Thursday evening, where he was handed over to the Special Cell. Police is interrogating him.

Jha, a resident of Kolkata, allegedly masterminded the major security breach in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, on the anniversary of the 2001 Parliament terror attack, when two men – Sagar Sharma and Manoranjan D – jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery. During Zero Hour the MPs released yellow smoke from canisters and raised slogans, before they overpowered the MPs.

Around the same time, two other people – Amol and Neelam – raised slogans and released yellow smoke from canisters outside the Parliament complex, following which the police had to arrest both of them.

According to the police, the Parliament security breach was well-coordinated, carefully planned by Jha and carried out by six people including him, all of whom are now in police custody.

Everything about Lalit Mohan Jha

Jha was a resident of Kolkata’s Barabazar area and used to teach local children there before leaving the area two years ago. Many of his former neighbors were surprised to see his photographs on news channels, and remembered him as a reserved person who rarely engaged with the community.

Papun Shaw, owner of a tea stall in Rabindra Sarani in Barabazar, recalled that a few years ago, Jha had come to the area and was living alone. “He rarely interacted with the local people. Sometimes he used to drink tea at my shop. He kept a very low profile. He suddenly left the area two years ago and never returned,” Shaw said.

Jha’s father was a watchman in the area and he had a brother, recalls Rajesh Shukla, another neighbour.

Two years ago, they left the area as they shifted to Baguiati in North 24 Parganas district, saying: “We couldn’t believe it was Lalit because he was a nice boy.”

Lalit Jha’s Kolkata connection sparked political debate in the state, with West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar accusing TMC MLA Tapas Roy of being “convenient” with Jha.

Majumdar shared two pictures of Roy with Jha on X. He said, “Lalit Jha, the mastermind of the attack on the temple of our democracy, was in close association with TMC’s Tapas Roy for a long time… Is this evidence not enough to investigate the leader’s nexus?”

The TMC MLA denied any knowledge about Jha and alleged that the BJP is now trying to move the goalposts.

The authenticity of the photographs has not been confirmed yet.

It was reported that after making a video of the security breach, Jha fled from the spot and took a bus to Nagaur in Rajasthan, where he met two of his friends and spent the night in a hotel. However, according to Delhi Police, they soon realized that the police were searching for them and decided to come back to Delhi by bus.

Lalit Jha’s friend inquired

Meanwhile, police interrogated Jha’s friend Neelkahaya Aich in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district for hours.

A team from Barrackpore Police Commissionerate visited Aich’s Halisahar residence on Thursday and asked him about his acquaintance with Jha during the days when the accused was working for an NGO.

Aich, an undergraduate student at a college in West Bengal, received a video of the security breach in Parliament from Jha soon after the incident.

“We have examined Aich’s mobile phone and noted some information, which may be important in our investigation,” the police officer said.

Developments so far in Parliament security breach case

So far, Delhi Police has filed terrorism charges against four people in the case under sections 16 and 18 of the UAPA related to terrorism and conspiracy to commit terrorism respectively. Eight Delhi Police personnel have also been suspended.

As more details emerged on Wednesday about what Delhi Police described as a “planned attack on Parliament”, police said six people were involved in the sensational incident, which coincided with the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attack on Parliament. In which nine people died.

Vishal Sharma alias Vicky, at whose house the accused stayed in Gurugram before reaching Parliament, is still in custody. Sources said that the role of two more people has also come to light during the investigation. The Special Cell of Delhi Police has detained him. They have been identified as Mahesh and Kailash.

The four arrested – Sagar Sharma (26), Manoranjan D (34), Amol Shinde (25) and Neelam Devi (37) – were charged under the non-bailable anti-terrorism law. A Delhi court sent the four arrested men to the custody of the city police for seven days for questioning after producing them before special judge for NIA cases Hardeep Kaur.