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Dilip officer shunted out
- Transfer of policeman who led raid raises eyebrows

Calcutta, Nov. 1: The police officer who led the team that arrested one of Bengal's most-wanted criminals, Dilip Banerjee, better known as hatkata Dilip, has suddenly been transferred.

Humayun Kabir, the sub-divisional police officer of Salt Lake, was shunted out three days after Dilip's arrest from the Haripal residence of national footballer Sasthi Duley. He was packed off as deputy superintendent of police, intelligence branch, a relatively low-profile job, much before time. Kabir was brought to Salt Lake only five months ago.

No one in the state government, the chief minister downwards, is making any comment on the transfer. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee brushed off the issue, saying Chayan Mukherjee, the inspector-general, law and order, was the competent person to speak on it. Home secretary Amit Kiran Deb said Shyamal Dutta, the director-general of police, would explain the reasons for the transfer. Dutta, on his part, passed the buck to Mukherjee.

Mukherjee would only concede that the transfer had taken place but refused to elaborate or furnish any reasons for it.

In recent years, Kabir has been involved in a string of 'sensational' raids and arrests, starting from the crackdown on criminals sheltered in the dormitories of the Salt Lake stadium in 2001 to the recent arrest of Avtar Singh, husband of Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, the CPM member of Parliament.

In all these cases, he had ruffled the feathers of important CPM leaders, especially those belonging to the North 24-Parganas unit of the party.

The Congress and the Trinamul Congress denounced the 'sacrifice of honest police officials at the altar of political expediency'. The general secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee, Manash Bhuiyan, said the government 'must come clean' on Kabir's transfer.

'It is not right to transfer a police officer just because an arrest he has made has embarrassed the party,' he said.

Pankaj Banerjee, the leader of the Opposition and Trinamul spokesperson, echoed Bhuiyan. 'If the government is transparent, why is it not coming clean on the transfer' he asked. 'Why is everyone keeping so very quiet about it'

Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, the political leader who is alleged to have had links with Dilip, said he had nothing against Kabir. 'He may have arrested Dilip and triggered a controversy with me at the centre of it, but I don't think he has anything against me.'

The two East Bengal footballers, Sasthi and Dipankar Roy, who had a hand in giving shelter to Dilip, were interrogated by the police through the day. They were detained after they returned from Delhi last night where they had gone to play in the Durand football tournament.

Sasthi and Dipankar were questioned at the airport police station in the presence of Dilip.

Chakraborty had a word of comfort for the national footballer, one of whose family members has said Dilip was taken into their house at the minister's instance. 'Sasthi is a good player who has represented the country and I believe he should be allowed to play his game unhindered,' the minister said.

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