TAMANG MURDER INVESTIGATION: Cellphone scan nets three – Two accused were shot at by Tamang’s guard: Cops – and the noose is slowly tightening ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
June 4: A cellphone recovered from the Clubside motor stand in Darjeeling on the day Madan Tamang was hacked to death had helped the CID to home in on three persons, who were arrested last night.
The mobile phone belonged to Nicol Tamang, a Gorkha Janmukti Morcha youth leader from Darjeeling, who is absconding.
“We examined the call records on the phone and found that Nicol Tamang had made frequent calls to three persons.
Two of them, Prashant Chhetri and Subhas Tamang, were in a Kalimpong hospital. They had been shot at in the leg by Madan Tamang’s bodyguard during the attack. The other is Suresh Raimaji from Darjeeling. (… a contractor asking for supply of tar after the murder who surrendered to clear his name ?!!)
We have arrested all three,” P. Neerajnayan, the inspector-general (I) of the CID, told The Telegraph in Calcutta today.
At first the injured duo had refused to admit that they had anything to do with Nicol, but soon they gave in to police grilling that led to Raimaji’s arrest from Darjeeling town late last night. “The two who were shot at were definitely present at the murder spot. But we have conclusive proof that Raimaji too was present during the attack,” the CID officer said.
Raimaji, a 36-year-old contractor, is a resident of Darjeeling. “He was produced in court in Darjeeling today. The two others have been sent to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital,” said K.L. Tamta, the inspector-general of police, north Bengal. The court has remanded Raimaji in police custody for 10 days. All the three have been charged with criminal conspiracy, the police said.
Sangey Yolmo, who is being treated at a Siliguri nursing home and still in a critical condition, had also suffered bullet injuries when Tamang’s security guard chief opened fire on May 21, the day the ABGL chief was killed before he was to address a public meeting.
Morcha leaders said the police were free to probe the murder case. “People can be arrested on doubts and suspicions but unless it is proved through concrete evidence that the arrested people were involved in the case, we cannot comment,” said Harka Bahadur Chhetri, the media secretary of the Morcha. “If anybody from our party is involved in the crime, we will disown him/her and not come in between the investigation and the accused.”
Three held in Tamang Murder Case – no CBI initiative yet, evidence impratially suspect ?!!
FROM THE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Kolkata, Jun 4 (PTI): Three persons, two of whom had bullet injuries, were arrested today in connection with the murder of All India Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang in Darjeeling, a senior police officer said here.
“All the three were arrested from Kalimpong. Two of them have bullet injuries,” West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told reporters.
Singh had said yesterday that Interpol’s assistance would be sought to apprehend the killers who might have fled to Bhutan or Nepal.
Tamang was killed on May 21 by unknown assailants when he was getting ready to address a rally in Darjeeling.
TRAIN CRASH INVESTIGATION: Van driver with train crash link arrested – still calling for a thorough CBI inquiry as in Darjeeling ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
June 4: The CID today got hold of the pick-up van the Maoists had allegedly used while going to sabotage the Jnaneswari Express’s tracks as its owner was driving into Kharagpur town.
After being arrested, Khagen Mahato, 40, apparently told police he did not know he was wanted.
Khagen said he was on his way home after delivering goods at Debra, 30km from Kharagpur.
The man who had allegedly driven Maoist-trained Bapi Mahato and his men to the sabotage site lives in a village 6km from where 150 people were killed in the train disaster on Friday morning.
“The van had been used to ferry youths recruited by the Maoists to Rajabandh. Khagen was driving the vehicle (WB33A 6238) with one of the prime suspects, Bapi Mahato, seated next to him,” said P. Neerajnayan, inspector-general (I) of police, CID.
The officer described the seizure of the vehicle as a breakthrough.
Director-general of police Bhupinder Singh said: “We are investigating Khagen Mahato’s Maoist links.”
Khagen is said to have admitted to being forced to go to Rajabandh. He told the police he rushed to nearby Indraboni village after getting a call that a patient had to be taken to hospital. “The moment I reached there, I found it was a false call. Local youths boarded my vehicle and ordered me to go to Rajabandh,” police sources quoted Khagen as saying.
Ten youths had allegedly travelled in Khagen’s car from Indraboni to Rajabandh with hammers, chisels, pickaxes and hacksaws. “The others in the gang reached Rajabandh on foot from nearby Burimole village,” said a CID officer.
The officer scoffed at Khagen’s claim of innocence. “Had he been taken to Rajabandh forcibly, he should have told the police about it after the Maoists released him.”
However, few villagers would have probably done that given the fear of the guerrillas in the area.
It is a wonder if Khagen really did not anticipate that the police would be looking for him. It is also surprising that the perpetrators of the crime had not warned him of the possibility.
Khagen was produced in a Jhargram court today and remanded in police custody till June 13.
Residents of Rajabandh had told the police they had seen a white pick-up van on the gravelled road that led to the train tracks on the night of the tragedy. The search was not very difficult as few in the area own pick-up vans. “We collected the names of all the car owners in the region and zeroed in on the person who owned the pick-up,” said an officer.
The CID tonight detained a labourer who did track repair jobs under railway contractors. It is suspected that the Maoists had used such labourers to remove the clips that tie the tracks to the sleepers.
Chief secretary Ardhendu Sen said in Calcutta that the state government had received the CBI notification on its probe into the train’s derailment. “But are yet to get the terms of reference,” he said.
Sen did not say if the CID would conduct a parallel probe. “Let me go through the notification. I shall then be able to say whether the CID investigation will continue,” he said.