Darjeeling, Oct. 21: Darjeeling police have started attaching properties of absconders in the Madan Tamang murder case following a court order but so far all they have managed to attach are trunks and clothes of the accused who do not have assets like houses in their names.
The ABGL has dubbed the attachment exercise an “eye wash” and “a big drama”.
Police sources said properties of three absconders had been confiscated till late this evening. All three — Tenzing Khambachay, Kamal Sinha and Arun Moktan — are supporters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
An advocate based in Darjeeling said: “Immovable properties are not seized usually if they are used by family members. If the house is in the name of the absconder, then it cannot be sold to anyone in future.”
The police swooped down on the houses of Khambachay at Jawahar Busty, Sinha at MP Road and Moktan at Gandhi Road in Darjeeling last night.
Kamal’s father Kumar Sinha told The Telegraph: “We clearly told the police that my son was an unemployed youth and he had contributed nothing for the house. I worked in Delhi for 22 years and this flat has been made with my hard earned money.”
An officer said two trunks (boxes) and some clothes were attached at Sinha’s house, while the police seized a suitcase and “few chairs” from Moktan’s residence.
The properties attached from Khambachay’s house include a trunk and clothes.
Thirty Morcha activists were named in the chargesheet filed by the CID on August 30 for their alleged involvement in the murder of ABGL president Madan Tamang. Of the 30, only seven have been arrested so far. Tamang was hacked to death by a khukuri-wielding mob in Darjeeling on May 21 morning.
The attachment process has come under attack from the ABGL.
“It is merely an eyewash and part of a big drama. The police have been making noises for the past two months that the properties would be attached and there was speculation that the absconders would remove the valuables from their houses. Let us wait and see how this drama unfolds in the days to come,” said Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL.
The police started attaching the properties after the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Darjeeling rejected an application filed by the CID to start the process for the trial of the seven arrested persons.
S.P. Rajak, the chief judicial magistrate, rejected the plea on October 11 saying the police had not submitted an execution report on the Warrant of Proclamation and Attachment (WPA) issued against the absconders. This essentially meant that the court wanted to know whether adequate measures had been taken to force the absconders to surrender before the court by attaching their properties. The WPA against the 23 named in the CID’s chargesheet had been issued by the court between September 4 and 8.
According to the lawyers, once the execution report is submitted by the police, the chief judicial magistrate will split the case between those who have been arrested and those who are absconding. After that, the case of the arrested persons will be committed (referred) to the session court for trial as the offence can only be tried there.
The absconders, including two women, have been booked under Sections 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.
The trial will involve examining 61 witnesses, including Bharati Tamang and Sanjog Tamang, wife and son of Madan Tamang.