| Pradip Chatterjee at the Jalpaiguri district court on Sunday. Picture by Biplab Basak
Siliguri, July 1: A CPI (Maoist) activist was arrested from Jalpaiguri town last night. Two pipeguns, 18 rounds of live cartridges and Rs 10,500 were seized from him.
Acting on a tip-off, CID officials picked up Pradip Chatterjee, alias Japan, a resident of Garia in Calcutta, from the Beguntari area of the town. He has been booked under Sections 25, 26 and 27 — possessing and using arms and ammunition illegally — of the Arms Act.
“We have also charged him under 468 and 471 of the IPC for possessing counterfeit currency. There were twenty-one 500-rupee notes with him, some of which were fakes. Pradip has been to jail before for his Maoist activities,” said Sisir Dewan, deputy superintendent of police, CID, posted in Siliguri.
The 28-year-old had been arrested from Matigara, 5 km from here, in 2005 on charges of waging war against the state. He was in Siliguri Special Jail for eight months before he was let out on bail.
“Once out, Pradip again resorted to campaigning for his organisation. The Maoist leadership engaged him to expand its network in north Bengal, especially in the closed tea gardens of the Dooars,” said Dewan. Police officials claimed that Pradip has visited Kanthalguri and Ramjhora.
On way to Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital for medical tests from the Kotwali police station, Pradip insisted that the police have framed him. “That I was carrying some money and publicity materials is true, but not the arms and ammunition. I have been framed.” He also shouted slogans like “Maobad Jindabad (Long live Maoism)”.
Police and intelligence officials were on the alert after information reached them that a zonal committee of the outfit has been formed in north Bengal. “We were told that it had Pradip and leaders like Animesh Chakraborty (in Malda jail now) as members,” a CID official said.
Hours after Pradip’s arrest, CID sleuths raided his Garia house at 120 Raja S.C. Mallick Road. “They have taken away our cellphone and a computer. The mobile was important as both of us are cardiac patients and our landline is dead,” said 56-year-old Reena Chatterjee, Pradip’s mother. His father Prasanta Chatterjee is 70.
According Reena, Pradip left home for north Bengal around 20 days ago.
Pradip was produced in court today and remanded in police custody for six days. He is likely to be taken to Bhawani Bhawan, the CID headquarters in Calcutta, for further interrogation.