CID names 30, gives Morcha seniors a miss

The Telegraph
VIVEK CHHETRI

Darjeeling, Aug. 30: The CID today submitted a chargesheet before a Darjeeling court alleging that 30 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha activists were involved in the murder of Madan Tamang.

Senior Morcha leaders, who had earlier been named in an FIR after the murder of the ABGL chief, do not figure in the chargesheet.

Assistant public prosecutor Govind Chhetri said: “The CID has filed a 519-page chargesheet and has further maintained that they can file a supplementary chargesheet if other names figure in their investigations.”

This technically means that the senior Morcha leaders could figure in the supplementary chargesheet if further investigations point to their involvement.

The FIR filed by ABGL general secretary Laxman Pradhan soon after the May 21 murder had named Morcha chief Bimal Gurung, his wife Asha Gurung and central committee members of the party Roshan Giri, Harka Bahadur Chhetri, Pradip Pradhan, Col(retd) Ramesh Allay and Binay Tamang as conspirators. None of the names figure in the CID chargesheet.

But seven other persons named by Pradhan figure in the chargesheet.

All the 30 persons have been booked under Section 147/148 (rioting/rioting with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 427 (mischief causing damage), 506 (criminal intimidation), 302 (murder) and 120 (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Of the 30, nine people had already been arrested. One of the prime accused, Nickole Tamang, fled from CID custody on August 22. Another accused is nursing bullet wounds in hospital.

While submitting the chargesheet the CID had pleaded before the chief judicial magistrate to issue arrest warrants against those who have not yet been picked up. Court warrants make it easier to arrest the accused if they have fled to other states. Shyam Prakash Rajak, chief judicial magistrate, has granted the petition.

With the filing of the chargesheet, the first step towards the trial of the murder case has started. Had the CID failed to submit a chargesheet within 90 days of the arrest of the accused, even those picked up for non-bailable offence would have been entitled to bail.

The chargesheet is primarily the findings of the investigation team. However, whether those named are actually guilty of committing the crime will be evident at the end of the trial.

“The trial will take place at the session’s court. If those named in the chargesheet are not arrested, there are provisions in the CrPc to even attach their properties. A few other procedures like transferring the case to the session court (from the chief judicial magistrate’s court) and separating the cases for those who have been arrested and those who are yet to be arrested will take place before trial starts,” said a lawyer.

In fact, the court had earlier imposed a freeze on the bank accounts of 10 of the accused including Nickole.

According to Chhetri, 61 witnesses have been named in the investigations. Sources said Bharati Tamang, the wife of slain leader Madan Tamang, and his son Sanjog Tamang are among the witnesses.

The Morcha refused comment on the chargesheet. Party assistant secretary Binay Tamang said: “Let the law take its own course.”

The CID has filed a fresh FIR after Nickole’s disappearance. The accused’s police remand ended today. Defence lawyer Seshmani Gurung said: “The CID team maintained that Nickole has fled from their custody and have filed an FIR at the Pradhan Nagar police station in Siliguri. The bail application of the other seven accused were rejected and they will be produced in court on September 13,” said Gurung.

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www.kalimpong.info

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