Mystery death of childless couple
Varsity chief under attack
Nun fined for torture of child
Doctor assaulted after patient dies
Ekla cholo Panja alone at show
Party gag on Subhas detractors at meet
‘Sabotage’ chapter opened
Minister back to stadium as usual
Mamata raises crime war cry

 
 
MYSTERY DEATH OF CHILDLESS COUPLE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
In a mysterious incident which baffled the city police, a middle-aged couple was found dead on Saturday at their Kalimuddin Sarkar Lane residence in the Beleghata police station area. The victims were identified as Swapan Goswami, 39, and Rajani, 37. According to preliminary investigations, it appeared to be a simple case of suicide.

“The couple became depressed after the two girls they had adopted went missing 15 days ago. It is possible that they committed suicide, being unable to bear the pain,” said an officer of Beliaghata police station.

Relatives and neighbours of the victims first noticed the bodies around 10 am. Kamal Das, a neighbour, said he heard Swapan’s relatives raising an alarm. “The relatives were knocking at Swapan’s door but there was no response. So we broke open the door,” Das added.

Robin Mohanty, another neighbour, said: “First we noticed Rajani lying on the floor and blood was oozing from her mouth. In another room, Swapan was lying on the ground with burns.” They were taken to Nilratan Sirkar Hospital where they were pronounced dead. Local residents, who had gathered there, were also in the dark how it all happened.

Swapan and Rajani were childless. They had adopted a girl a few years ago. Recently, Swapan also adopted his niece after his sister’s death, according to information available with the police.

Juba Chandra Mandal, additional officer-in-charge of Beleghata police station, said Swapan and Rajani became traumatised after their adopted daughters, Rinki, 12, and Peu, 16, went missing. They had lodged a complaint with the police station.

“We discovered that Rinki and Peu were staying with a relative of Swapan’s who lives in Baruipur. We planned to bring back the two girls tomorrow and we told Swapan about it,” said Mandal.

The investigating officers said it was not the first time that Pinki and Peu had run away from home. Last year, they tried to escape twice. “We have come know that the couple had adopted two other children a few years ago and raised them. But, unfortunately, they, too, fled and could not be traced,” said Mandal.

“It is true that the Goswamis were suffering from depression as all the children they had adopted, escaped. After Rinki and Peu fled a couple of weeks ago, they decided not to adopt any children again. This depression might have led to the incident,” said an investigating officer.

But policemen were not too sure whether they could accept this case as one of simple suicide. “We found bloodstains on Rajani’s mouth. It is also possible that Swapan first strangled his wife and then killed himself,” said a police officer.

Murder probe: Problems at office may have led to the murder of Navaz Eruchshaw Wadia, a 52-year-old Parsee woman, on Friday. Sleuths reached this conclusion on Saturday.

Wadia worked in a multinational company. Police said the company’s office on Chowringhee Road was going to be shifted. Wadia had a say in this decision. “We suspect that there was some dispute, which might have led to the death. However, the picture is not clear so far,” police said. Basu said the killing was pre-planned.

   

 
 
VARSITY CHIEF UNDER ATTACK 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Midnapore, June 30: 
Prof Anandadev Mukherjee, vice-chancellor of Vidyasagar University, was heckled for the second time in the last two months by teachers at the university’s Executive Council meeting on Saturday.

Teachers charged at Mukherjee, mouthing abuses and accusing him of patronising an official, who, they said, had misused funds. They were stopped by other members. The vice-chancellor wanted to extend the tenure of director of the university’s distance education centre Badal Chowdhury. Trouble started when the issue came up at the meeting.

“I will inform the WBCUTA about this,” Mukherjee said.

   

 
 
NUN FINED FOR TORTURE OF CHILD 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
Sister Fransisca of the Missionaries of Charity was fined Rs 1,000 by a city court on Saturday after she pleaded guilty to having inflicted burns with a heated knife on Karabi, a seven-year-old boarder at the organisation’s Tirettabazar home for destitute children, in September last year.

The nun was fined Rs 1,000 and in default two months simple imprisonment by third metropolitan magistrate Parthasarathi Mukherjee. The fine was paid. Superior General Sister Nirmala surrendered as the head of the Missionaries of Charity on behalf of Sister Fransisca, head of the Mahatma Gandhi Welfare Organisation, Tirettabazar, before chief metropolitan magistrate S.K. Neogy on September 18. Sister Nirmala was granted bail of Rs 500.

The case under Section 324 IPC was taken up after an FIR was lodged with the Bowbazar police station by Karabi’s father, Kabiram Mondal. Subsequently, the charges against Sister Nirmala were withdrawn and framed against Sister Fransisca.

Student strangulated: A Class IV student of Kakorda Primary School, in Midnapore, was found dead with marks of strangulation round her neck in a betel leaf plantation on Saturday morning. Moumita Pal was allegedly kidnapped on her way to school earlier in the day.

   

 
 
DOCTOR ASSAULTED AFTER PATIENT DIES 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Midnapore, June 30: 
A mob assaulted a doctor in Mohammadpur village, in the Nandigram police station area, on Saturday morning after a pregnant woman died as a result of wrong treatment. The doctor was arrested.

Srabanti Bera, 24, was taken to a local charitable dispensary, where she was treated by Dr Sujit Giri. As her condition deteriorated, the doctor escaped through the backdoor. Rabindranath, the victim’s husband, found her dead. The doctor’s house was ransacked and he was assaulted. He was rescued by the police. A picket was posted in the area.

   

 
 
EKLA CHOLO PANJA ALONE AT SHOW 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
Rebel Trinamul Congress MP Ajit Panja’s much-hyped political convention at Mahajati Sadan today proved to be a damp squib as he failed to rope in any MP, MLA or councillors.

However, Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee’s rally, which coincided with Panja’s convention, drew a huge crowd. At the rally, attended by a large number of MPs, MLAs and councillors, Mamata announced a string of agitational programmes to expose the CPM in the wake of the Salt Lake stadium scandal involving transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.

A desperate Panja brought in disgruntled party workers from the districts for the convention. He also roped in Union minister of state for communication and BJP MP Tapan Sikdar and his two close aides, Asim Ghosh and Muzaffar Khan.

However, BJP MP and Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers S. Mukherjee skipped the programme though he was present in the city. Much to Panja’s embarrassment, no representative from the NDA attended the convention.

Apparently spurned by party leaders, Panja announced that he would stick to his ekla cholo policy to reinstill democracy in the party. He virtually floated a parallel organisation by announcing a core committee and 15 frontal committees as part of his effort to revamp the party.

“We want to make the West Bengal Trinamul Congress a cadre-based party to carry on the fight against atrocities by the Marxists,” the MP said. He added that the core committee will be at the helm of affairs and will monitor party programmes. Panja announced that the committee will observe Martyrs’ Day at Chinsruha on July 21, the same day that Mamata will observe a Martyrs’ Day at Esplanade East.

Reiterating that he had no plan of splitting the party, Panja said the convention was called to give a new look to the organisation. “We are trying to rectify the mistakes committed by Mamata,” he said. The party had to suffer a lot due to Mamata’s “whimsical and impractical decisions”, he added.

Sikdar, a known Mamata critic, said he would rather support a Panja-led Trinamul than one headed by Mamata. “Unlike Mamata, Panja believes in value-based politics and does not tell lies or betray a friend,” he added.

In his inaugural address, Panja stressed the need for rejoining the NDA and strengthening the hands of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. However, the convention was silent on Chakraborty’s alleged nexus with criminals.

   

 
 
PARTY GAG ON SUBHAS DETRACTORS AT MEET 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
Known detractors of Subhas Chakraborty in the CPM, Amitava Bose and Shanti Ghatak, were not allowed to raise the Salt Lake stadium issue during the first day of the two-day CPM state committee meeting today.

State CPM secretary Anil Biswas and politburo member Biman Bose told the meeting that no discussion will be allowed even within the party forum till Monday when chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will make a statement in the Assembly.

The CPM state secretariat, which met yesterday, had decided not to discuss the issue during the state committee meeting. Party leaders also instructed Chakraborty not to get “provoked” if any member tried to raise the issue during today’s meeting.

“We have called the state committee meeting to review our poll performance and not discuss the Salt Lake stadium issue and we have made this clear to all our members,” Biswas said.

It is learnt that despite this, Amitava Bose tried to raise the issue at the meeting but was firmly put down by Biswas and others.

However, those close to the transport minister tried to impress upon the other members to treat the entire issue as a “closed chapter” much like how the party tried to handle Jyoti Basu’s reference to the “historic blunder” of not joining the Union government.

It is learnt that Bhattacharjee has already instructed the police to look into the allegation by Chakraborty that Trinamul Congress had masterminded the stadium episode with help from Sujit Bose, a Trinamul councillor from South Dum Dum, who was once close to Chakraborty.

Sources said the CPM leadership is not going to take any stern action against Chakraborty as the budget session is on. Sources in the CPM also hinted that though no immediate step will be initiated against Chakraborty, the sports portfolio might be taken away from him at a later date.

Though the stadium issue was not raised, party leaders from Burdwan, Malda, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar mentioned that a number of CPM candidates in these districts had to face defeat during the May 10 Assembly polls because of “intra-party feuds”.

Party leaders from Burdwan complained that the CPM nominee in Durgapur II Assembly seat, Debabrata Banerjee, was defeated due to “conspiracy by a section of party leaders in the district”. The CPM candidate in Hirapur Assembly segment had to face defeat for the same “intra-party rivalry”, district leaders mentioned during the meeting.

Representatives from Malda, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, however, told the party leaders that alliance between the Trinamul and Congress had given the CPM an edge, helping many of its candidates to win.

   

 
 
‘SABOTAGE’ CHAPTER OPENED 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
Though the Alimuddin Street bosses declared the Salt Lake stadium controversy a “closed chapter”, they today ratified recommendations from the party’s North 24-Parganas district unit to set up a commission to probe the alleged “sabotage” by Chakraborty and his associates leading to the electoral debacle in the four Assembly segments in the district.

The issue came up at a marathon meeting of the state committee where former chief minister Jyoti Basu was among those present.

Chakraborty’s detractors from the district alleged that the transport minister had played a role in ensuring the defeat of party nominees in Panihati, Habra, Rajarhat and Dum Dum Assembly seats.

The district committee had set up the commission headed by Gourisankar Bose, a district committee member, to probe the allegations of “sabotage” by senior district CPM leaders like Amitava Nandy, who had contested from Habra and lost.

Another important party leader was former chief whip in the Assembly, Rabin Mondal, who lost from Rajarhat.

   

 
 
MINISTER BACK TO STADIUM AS USUAL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
Two days after the stadium scandal, Subhas Chakraborty today visited the place of the police crackdown.

Like on other Saturdays, Chakraborty came to the stadium and entered his office. He spent a few hours, supervised work, met visitors around 3 pm and then left.

“The visit was as usual. He did not ask us anything about the present situation in the state youth hostel,” said an employee of the stadium who preferred anonymity.

Even the staff of the youth hostel did not have any information about the minister’s visit. “We have no idea when he came today and what time he left,” said an employee.

Life in the youth hostel was as usual on Saturday. But there was a little change at the VIP gate.

The staff of a private security agency which has been asked to look after the stadium’s security round the clock, has started maintaining a logbook.

Each person coming in through the gate is being asked to note the name, address, arrival and departure time.

“We have been given a special order by the stadium authorities to keep a close eye on people who are coming in and going out. From today, as soon as the minister entered here, we started the checking system,” said K. Banerjee, one of the security staff at the VIP gate.

However, no steps have been taken to beef up the security system at the youth hostel. The staff at the enquiry counter were looking relaxed and no one seemed bothered about the early morning police crackdown on Wednesday which sent shock waves across the state. The staff on duty were not asking about the whereabouts of the people who were entering the hostel.

“We do not have any special order. We are following the existing system,” an employee said.

A section of the hostel employees blamed the poor security system of the hostel for the recent scandal. “We have no system to check the identity of the people who come here. They only show the booking paper and we allot beds to them,” said an employee on condition of anonymity.

The hostel also has a spot-booking facility. “In case of spot-booking, we first issue a form to the applicant. They have to fill it. They also have to mention the purpose of booking. We do not have any order to cross-check the information mentioned on the form. If a criminal comes here and books a room, we have no way of identifying him.”

The youth hostel is not only for players. All kinds of people can stay here. “We even allot rooms or beds to Bangladeshi citizens who come to Calcutta for treatment or other purpose. But we cannot identify them while allotting rooms or beds. Later, we come to know about their identity during conversation. We don’t even have any orders to check their passports,” said another employee.

The miscreants who were picked up early on Wednesday had been staying at the hostel for the past two months. “We cannot identify them because of our poor system. We generally allot rooms for a week. It can be extended. If we have no pressure of booking, we allow the boarders to stay for a long time,” he added.

   

 
 
MAMATA RAISES CRIME WAR CRY 
 
 
BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, June 30: 
Ahead of Sunday’s rally to “expose the CPM’s and Subhas Chakraborty’s criminal links”, Mamata Banerjee today asked her party workers to take to the streets “in a big way”.

“Criminals are being picked up from the Salt Lake stadium and a minister is involved in this. Do we now just sit quietly or do something about it?” she told her party workers at Esplanade today.

The Trinamul leader said the state authorities were making an attempt to gag the Opposition on this issue. “But we will continue our agitation both within the Assembly and outside,” Mamata said. She appealed to her supporters to start a state-wide movement against the “criminalisation of politics.”

Mamata led a procession of party workers from Subodh Mullick Square to Esplanade East where she raised slogans against Chakraborty and the Left Front government.

“A number of notorious criminals has been arrested from the Salt Lake stadium. These hardened criminals were used to rig the Assembly elections. But there are also many other centres from which such criminals operated to ensure the victory of CPM candidates,” she said.

She urged the party workers to organise street-corners and rallies and gherao police stations in different districts to highlight the “CPM-criminal nexus and expose the state government’s anti-working class attitude”.

Trinamul MLA Sudip Bandopadhyay said an all-party committee should be formed to probe the matter. This committee, he said, should be headed by the leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

“Subhas should resign immediately for sheltering criminals at the Salt Lake stadium,” he said.

   
 

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