The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM cries conspiracy, stands by Suhrid
- Finger at faction feud
Tapasi Malik’s mother Molina Devi at her home in Singur on Friday. Picture by Amit Datta Our bureau

Calcutta, June 29: Suhrid Dutta today blamed Debu Malik, his co-accused in the Tapasi Malik murder, of framing him, fuelling suspicion in the CPM that the Singur leader is a victim of factional feud.

Ami nirdosh. Debu amake phansiye dilo (I am innocent. Debu has framed me),” Suhrid cried out to reporters when the judge had left the Chandernagore courtroom for some time .

According to CPM sources, Debu was initially close to Dibakar Das, whom Suhrid had replaced as Singur zonal committee secretary before the last Assembly elections.

Debu had apparently switched allegiance to Suhrid soon after.

During land acquisition for the Tata Motors project and the subsequent land-filling, fencing and erection of the boundary wall, Debu would be by Suhrid’s side.

While Suhrid supervised the entire operation, Debu emerged as a recruiter and supervisor of the night guards deployed to guard the wall.

Suhrid caught the CBI’s attention when he repeatedly supported Debu’s claim that Tapasi had committed suicide despite telltale evidence of murder.

The CBI had also questioned Dibakar, the CPM Hooghly district committee member, in connection with the murder after Suhrid and Debu’s arrest.

Suhrid and Debu being brought to court. Pictures by Krishna Chandra Mishra

Although he was let off, senior CPM leaders like Benoy Konar fear that more party leaders, including Dibakar, might be arrested.

Dibakar is known to be close to CPM MP from Hooghly Anil Basu, while Suhrid is an aide of another MP from the district, Rupchand Pal.

The factions led by the two MPs have been locked in a long-running feud. The state leadership has so far failed to settle the dispute despite asking both sides to help in the speedy implementation of the Tata Motors project.

A resident of Bajemelia, Debu does not have formal membership of the party nor is he an elected member of the panchayat. However, his proximity to Dibakar helped him increase his clout in the panchayat. He had even made a small fortune by charging farmers for the water supplied from the mini deep tube-well run by the panchayat samity.

Debu would often be seen on Dibakar’s motorcycle with the leader riding pillion. But Suhrid became his “political guru” after Dibakar lost the zonal committee chair.

Suhrid’s family and some party leaders denied that he was close to Debu. “Dada had neither intimacy nor enmity with Debu . After all, Debu had no such political stature to be become his friend or foe,” said Saroj Dutta, Suhrid’s brother, who is also a CPM leader.

“I can’t comment on Dibakarbabu’s role or his relation with Debu. Differences of opinion may have been there but in our party, people are not framed for this. I think Dada has been framed because anti-development forces knew they would be able to hurt the party most by attacking its key leader in Singur,” he added.

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