The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM kin pretenders take state for a ride

Malda/Raiganj, May 10: A couple posing as “close relatives” of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee got the administration to roll out the red carpet for them.

The VIP treatment included free accommodation at a plush guesthouse, police security, a car with a red light and a free ride to Malda with police escort.

Before taking the North Dinajpur administration for a ride, the couple had used the “CM connection” to cheat the CPM zonal committee secretary at Siliguri of Rs 25,000. Their luck ran out this morning.

There are two versions as to who the couple — Sanjay Duttagupta (25) and Buli Duttagupta (35) of Calcutta — posed as. North Dinajpur superintendent of police Arun Kumar Sharma said he was told that the woman was the niece of the chief minister’s wife and the man her husband.

But Debabrata Roy, the manager of Purbasha hotel in Malda where the couple checked in last night, said the two were introduced to him by their police escort as the daughter and son-in-law of the chief minister.

Police said Sanjay, an unemployed youth, and his alleged wife Buli, had spent a few days in Darjeeling and Siliguri before deciding to come to Raigunj. On the way to Raigunj, they contacted an officer of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, Benugopal Ghosh. After introducing themselves as Bhattacharjee’s “relatives”, they requested his help in making their stay comfortable. No one knows how they zeroed in on him, but Ghosh says he had never known them before.

According to Ghosh, he called up the district magistrate of North Dinajpur, Aariz Aftab, as well as Sharma. Ghosh met the couple and dropped them at the guesthouse, where apparently they spent the night in a room booked in the name of environment minister Manab Mukherjee. The next morning, Ghosh said that Aftab, at his behest, provided a car to the couple to take them to the CPM office.

Though the guesthouse was booked for them, the Duttaguptas left at night for Malda in a car, which, Ghosh said, was provided by Aftab. Aftab admitted that the guesthouse was booked for the couple from the district collectorate, but denied providing them with a car. Ghosh said he accompanied the couple to Malda with a police escort. But Sharma denied providing one. This morning, the police smelt a rat and arrested the couple.

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