BENGAL INTELLIGENCE: Hunt for sleuth held hostage in blind alley – hamstrung and alienated is Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
Calcutta/Purulia, Oct. 24: Police have failed to find intelligence official Partha Biswas and his schoolteacher friend 48 hours after they were taken hostage by suspected Maoists in Purulia’s Ayodhya Hills.
The search has been hamstrung by lack of information about which Maoist group had captured the duo on Friday. The police fear that the 40-year-old intelligence branch inspector and his friend Saumajit Basu may have been taken to neighbouring Jharkhand. Basu, 32, is attached to an NGO working for tribals in rebel-hit areas.
“Had the group been identified, we could have got some leads. We could have monitored some cellphone numbers. We are not sure whether Biswas has been kept in Bengal or taken to Jharkhand,” said an officer.
Surajit Kar Purakayastha, additional director-general (law and order), said the police were combing villages around the deeply wooded Ayodhya Hills. “There is no headway till now. No lead has emerged.”
Personnel of the CRPF’s elite Cobra unit — part of the joint forces engaged in anti-rebel operations — have been pressed into the search. Last night, they scoured Borgora, Tilagora and Hedelbera villages at the base of the Ayodhya Hills.
“The forces asked us whether we had seen any Maoist on Friday and whether we had provided shelter or food to them. They also asked us if we had seen any hostages in our village. They searched our house but did not find anything,” said Krishna Pahari, 28, an unemployed youth in Borgora.
Netai Pahari, 52, of Tilagora spoke of a similar drill. “The policemen came around 8pm yesterday, just when we had sat down for dinner. We told them that we had seen no Maoist,” the farmer said.
Senior officers had claimed yesterday that Biswas — the first intelligence sleuth to fall into rebel hands since the joint forces began operations in June last year— had not informed his immediate bosses when he set off with Basu.
Today, police sources said Biswas had called a colleague at the intelligence branch headquarters in Calcutta a few minutes before he was taken hostage. Biswas’s colleagues said he had wanted a transfer — he has been posted in Purulia for the past two years — fearing he could be identified as an undercover cop.
At Biswas’s home in Naihati, on Calcutta’s outskirts, wife Barnali appealed to her husband’s captors. “He had last visited home on Wednesday. My husband was concerned about the welfare of poor tribals. I appeal to those who have kept him hostage to release him,” she said.
State transport minister Ranjit Kundu visited the Biswas home this afternoon and reassured the family that the government was trying its best to trace him.
In Hooghly’s Bandel, where Basu hails from, a police officer claimed that someone speaking Hindi with a “south Indian accent” had called the family around 11.50pm on Friday night, hours after he had been taken captive. “They told Avijit (Basu’s elder brother) that they were verifying the identities of the duo,” the officer said. Basu’s wife Sankhatua — they have a two-and-a-half-year-old son — and parents cannot bear the tension any more, said Avijit. “We are praying for my brother’s safety. He is innocent and I hope he is released,” said the private firm executive.
Scam officer gives cops the slip – Bengal cops, probably ‘oh so’ open to bribes ?!! Thus the need for a separate police commisionerate for these areas under GRA ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Raiganj, Oct. 24: The joint block development officer of Karandighi, an accused in the Rs 1.2 crore mid-day meal scam whom police have been looking for, has given the men in khaki the slip during the Pujas despite the authorities’ claim of a “round-the-clock vigil” for him.
Joint BDO Durjoy Chakrabarty, who has gone missing on October 5 from his rented house in Sudarshanpur here, managed to take away his wife from the house evading the “police vigil”. However, there was no evidence of any picket posted outside his residence, neighbours said.
Uday Saha, a boarder in another portion of the house, today said: “On October 14, Chakrabarty suddenly took away his wife, leaving their belongings. In fact, I called the rickshaw which took them to Siliguri More from where they boarded a Calcutta-bound bus.”
A posse of policemen were posted at Siliguri More, about 30 metres from the house, to take care of any untoward incident.
The police have also failed to catch Tapas Mondal, a data entry operator and a co-accused in the alleged misappropriation.
Sources at the district administration said the Islampur sub-divisional administration had started an inquiry into the allegations of misappropriation of funds. The investigation by a deputy magistrate has revealed that Rs 6 lakh was paid to two self-help groups that did not cook meal for school students. Investigations are on to find out if Rs 1.2 crore, sanctioned by the joint BDO for other SHGs through notesheets sent to the bank, was judiciously spent or not.
The SDO of Islampur had initially slapped a showcause notice on Chakrabarty, an official said. “As the joint BDO could not satisfy the SDO with his replies, the district administration filed a complaint against him on October 5. Since then, he went underground. Later, the police informed the administration that they were in search of him and also keeping a watch on Chakrabarty’s rented house.”
North Dinajpur district police chief Milan Kanti Das said he did not have any information on Chakrabarty’s whereabouts.
“We do not know whether he visited his house or took away his wife. Our officers are keeping a round-the-clock vigil on him,” Das added.
Sunil Dandapat, the district magistrate, however, brushed aside the allegations. “None in the administration is trying to save the joint BDO,” he said. “About three-four days ago, Chakrabarty had sent me a leave application by post. We have not sanctioned it.”
Labourer held for girl murder – lucky due to confession on a murder mystery most foul ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, Oct. 24: A 19-year old youth was arrested in Ratua yesterday on charges of raping and strangulating to death a Class III student three days ago.
The body of the seven-year-old girl was found in a mango orchard on Friday, a day after she had gone missing from Rukundipur village.
Day labourer Mithun Choudhury has confessed to his crime. Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said Mithun was being interrogated to find out if he had any accomplices in crime.
“Mithun took the girl to a nearby mango orchard, luring her with some spicy snacks. After raping her, he strangulated her to death. When the girl resisted, he put mud in her mouth. His right thumb was bitten by the girl before she died,” the police chief said.
Local people told the police that Mithun had been spotted with the girl late on Thursday evening while she was coming back from a village fair, 45km from here. Mithun was at his aunt’s house when the police picked him up for interrogation. They took him to Ratua police station where he confessed to his crime. He was then arrested.
“He killed the minor, took a bath in the Mara Mahananda river and then went to a pan shop and treated his thumb with lime,” said the police chief.