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Blast witness points at police

Burdwan, Nov. 6: Some policemen of the Rampurhat police station in Birbhum were hand in glove with miscreants who ran a crude bomb racket from his house in Dakhalbati village, about 10 km from Rampurhat, said Netai Das. His two-storey mud house blew up on the night of October 27, killing 13 persons, including seven men making bombs.

“The racket was continuing for almost two years during which policemen actively helped nefarious criminals make and sell bombs. This police-miscreant nexus extended to search for raw materials and markets in nearby districts like Burdwan and Murshidabad,” admitted Das, a blast eyewitness who has been fighting for his life since the incident.

Das is undergoing treatment at the police cell in the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital. He claims innocence and blames son Anath — absconding with five others since that ill-fated night— and others for the blast.

“I’m innocent. My son was associated with notorious criminals like Basir Sheikh, Nabirul Sheikh and Chandan Sheikh, who were also associated with local Congress politicians. These hoodlums sold bombs to other miscreants and were also involved in armed robbery. I asked my son repeatedly not to continue with his criminal activities, but he never paid heed to my advice,” said Das.

“Altogether twelve criminals came to my place that night to make bombs. They parked their bicycles at the local panchayat pradhan’s house and came to my house stealthily on foot. Their dinner was cooked in neighbour Krishna Das’ house. (She has been arrested along with Das.) My family members were asleep when Anath’s associates started making bombs. I lost consciousness after the explosion and remember nothing,” said Das.

Forensic and bomb squad reports are yet to be submitted but police authorities are more or less certain that the bombs were meant for criminal purposes.

Inspector-general of police (Western Range) Jitram Bhagat said: “Netai Das, who was wounded in the explosion, was arrested from the spot. His neighbour Krishna Das was taken into custody last Sunday. She has provided us with a few important leads. Anath, however, escaped after the incident. We’re still in search of seven more criminals in this connection. Most of them have past records. We’re sure that the bombs made in Netai’s house were used for nefarious activities although we’re yet to trace the exact route by which raw materials were procured. Our investigation is still on.”

“No policeman will be spared if it is established that he had any connection whatsoever with Anath Das and Basir Sheikh’s gang and criminal activities,” he added.

Senior police officers feel that the racket and the blast happened due to abject failure of the district intelligence personnel.

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