The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arrest was bad, jail fine: ‘Spy’

Behrampore, June 2: One of the eight persons arrested in Murshidabad last year and charged with spying for the ISI have been granted bail by Calcutta High Court.

Ghulam Murtaza walked out of the Central Jail here yesterday after spending six months in custody, claiming that he was being charged for nothing. “That the high court granted me bail proves my innocence, there is nothing to show against me in the chargesheet,” Murtaza proclaimed after his release.

“I own a public call booth and the police had unnecessarily picked me up. I do not know who called up whom from my PCO,” Murtaza said.

He was angry at the police but he had no complaints about the jail authorities’ hospitality. Murtaza said: “You get all the comforts in Behrampore Central Jail, if you have the money.”

The police sounded much like Murtaza’s claim of innocence. There was not much against him but that he allowed the alleged ISI agents to use his booth to make calls, they said.

“It is not for me to comment on why the bail was granted but let me assure you that the police are on the right track,” said Murshidabad superintendent of police Virendra.

Senior officials said the police had approached Murtaza in jail with a proposition to turn into a state witness. “He thought turning a witness would invite the ISI’s wrath and backed off. That is why he was in jail till the high court granted him bail,” said the district police chief. He, however, added that it would be difficult for the other accused to obtain bails. “There is incriminating evidence against them.”

Murtaza’s lawyer had appealed the high court, praying for his bail, and Justice Nure Alam Chowdhury ordered the district court to “consider his release”.

He was arrested on November 17, last year, after the police picked up Ziauddin Biswas, his wife Ismatara and brother-in-law Hasan Habib from Durlabherpara in Jalangi. A series of arrests followed the interrogation of the quartet.

Pub shooting

A tiff in a pub at a residential-cum-commercial complex in Serampore, Hooghly, ended in a gunshot. Ajoy Roy Bhowmick was admitted to the Walsh Hospital with a bullet wound. Police said Roy Bhowmick had identified the shooter but no arrests have been made yet.

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