The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBI and police trade charges

Garbeta, Sept. 26: A battle of attrition is on between the CBI and West Midnapore police over the heckling of a team from the central intelligence agency at Sanmura village here yesterday.

District superintendent of police K.C. Meena blamed the CBI officers for going to the village in plainclothes and without informing the Garbeta police station. But CBI deputy superintendent M.S. Khan alleged that Meena did not heed his request for a police escort to their mission to arrest a local CPM leader named in the Chhota Angaria “carnage”.

The CBI team went to Sanmura on Wednesday evening to arrest Prasanta Pal.

However, the villagers heckled the intelligence officers and helped Prasanta flee. The situation was further complicated after Prasanta’s mother, Lakshmi Pal, today lodged an FIR complaining that the sleuths actually detained her elder son, Srikanta. They had tried to take him away in a jeep, she alleged. The CBI men refused to disclose their identity and that led to heated exchanges, she added. Srikanta fled in the melee.

Meena said: “They (the CBI) asked for police escort when my force was busy flushing out People’s War activists from the jungles. I told them to wait for some time. Visiting the remote Sanmura village without escort is always risky, but the CBI officers did not listen.”

The CBI officers have filed a case with the Salboni police station, alleging police inaction after they were heckled.

Police sources said the villagers took the CBI personnel in plainclothes to be People’ War activists and the confusion snowballed when the officers mistook Srikanta for Prasanta and tried to frisk him away.

Prasanta’s name figured with seven others’ in the FIR lodged by Abdur Rahman Bakhtar Mandal, who claimed to be a witness to the Chhota Angaria killings on January 4 last year.

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