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Turncoat on trial Day I

Ranaghat (Nadia), Dec. 15: Dilip Ghosh, the first to lodge an FIR with the Dhantola police station after the loot-and-rape outrage on February 6, denied almost everything that he had said when the trial began in the fast-track court here.

The nephew of the driver of the first bus carrying wedding guests from Birnagar to Kuchiamora in North 24-Parganas, Ghosh said in court he had slumped on the street and could not see the armed dacoits. He was the first witness produced in court.

When public prosecutor Dilip Chatterjee asked Ghosh to identify the dacoits, he failed to recognise any of those present in the court room, including Cheema Sardar, the alleged killer of his brother Samir.

“I can only say that the bus was waylaid along with another one at Ainsmali. The dacoits were masked and armed with lathis and guns. One of them suddenly hurt me on my head and I slumped on the street. I can’t remember any thing”, he told a packed court room.

Chatterjee pleaded with the judge that Ghosh be declared “a hostile witness” as what he said in the “recorded statement in the police station while lodging the FIR” and what he was saying today were different.

The court declared Ghosh “hostile” and Chatterejee cross-examined him. But even then, an unfazed Ghosh reiterated that he could not remember what happened on the night of February 6.

Ghosh could only recollect what happened the next morning. “There was agitation in front of the police station by Citu men. Their leader, Subol Bagchi, was furious in front of policemen, who later visited Dhantola police station,” Ghosh said today.

The court was adjourned after the public prosecutor and two defence lawyers questioned Ghosh for nearly three hours. The court will examine Abhinas Hira, who wrote the FIR on behalf of the complainants on the morning of February 7, tomorrow.

Two buses returning from wedding receptions were looted and at least seven women, including two minors, were raped during the incident that nearly stretched into morning.

Twenty accused, including former Aranghata zonal committee secretary of the CPM and school teacher Subol Bagchi and former pradhan of the Ainsmali panchayat Saidul Karigar, were today present in the court of the additional sessions judge.

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