Malda, Feb. 13: Police today said they busted an illegal arms manufacturing den in Kaliachak last night and caught three men and the suspicion that they have Trinamul links has given the Congress an opportunity to cry foul before the crucial Englishbazar bypoll.
The police also said they had seized nine muskets, bullets, gunpowder and various equipment used to make the weapons.
The arrests have given ammunition to the Congress to allege that Trinamul was plotting to disturb the Englishbazar bypoll scheduled for February 23.
The illegal unit was in a hut at Natun Tingharia in Birnagar II gram panchayat, about 40km from Malda town.
Two of three men arrested have the same name ' Shyamal Mondol ' and the third is Dilip Mondol. All are in their early thirties.
"Nine muskets and 20 different kinds of equipment, including a lathe and drilling machines, were seized. The raid also yielded 15 live rounds of ammunition and gunpowder," said Malda superintendent of police Prasun Banerjee.
Party insiders said the trio were close to the local area committee president, Sujit Ghosh. One of the two Shyamals, is from the nearby Beguntola and runs a grocery from home. His wife, Chandana, visited the Trinamul office in Kaliachak and went to the police station accompanied by local leaders to get her husband freed.
The woman told journalists: "It is true that my husband is a Trinamul worker, but he runs a grocery and is not involved in any criminal activity. He was falsely implicated."
District police chief Banerjee said the police were not certain about the political affiliations of the arrested men.
"The chief judicial magistrate's court here has remanded them in police custody for five days. We are investigating where the arms were sold and to whom and for how much. Those arrested are also implicated in cases in Kaliachak police station involving a fake currency racket, rape and taking part in violence," Banerjee said.
Malda Congress president and Union minister of state for health, Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury, said the arms den and the arrest of Trinamul workers showed that the party was out to unleash terror during the Assembly bypoll.
"We have information that Trinamul is planning to bring armed workers from Kaliachak to terrorise voters. We have sent a report regarding the ruling party's involvement in the manufacturing of illegal arms to the Election Commission."
Trinamul Malda district president Sabitri Mitra said: "The Congress is behind this."