Chatterjee with Mamata Banerjee at a Trinamul Congress-SUCI rally in Calcutta last month
Calcutta/Puri, April 10: SUCI leader Bidhan Chatterjee was found hanging in a Puri hotel this morning, days after threatening suicide to protest “corruption” in the party.
Chatterjee, a resident of Behala, had been missing since Sunday.
The SUCI state committee member was found hanging from the ceiling at the end of a nylon rope. His body was identified by Raghunath Das, an Orissa-based SUCI activist.
Chatterjee’s disappearance came to light on Tuesday night after his letter to SUCI state secretary Pravas Ghosh reached the party’s Lenin Sarani headquarters. Chatterjee had written that he would “end his life” and blamed Ghosh for the growing “corruption in the party”.
Asked if a case of abetment to suicide would be started against Ghosh, the South 24-Parganas superintendent of police, Praveen Kumar, said: “We are yet to take a call. Neither Chatterjee’s family nor the party has lodged a complaint. Once our preliminary investigation is over, we will seek legal experts’ opinion.”
Chatterjee’s wife Bulbul Aich, an SUCI member, and the rest of his family were not available for comment.
Two teams of officers from Behala police station left for Puri tonight to conduct a probe. Orissa police have sent the body for post-mortem.
According to Orissa police, Chatterjee, in his mid-50s, had checked into Hotel Suman Guest House on Tuesday under a fictitious name and address.
“He identified himself in the hotel register as Vikash Chakrabarty from 90 T.L. Road, Calcutta 700033. He had been staying in the hotel for the last two days,” said an officer of Puri’s Sea Beach police station.
Inspector-in-charge P.K. Patnaik said Chatterjee had left the hotel soon after checking in and returned around 10.30pm.
“Last night, he had dinner and went to his room. Around 10 this morning, a cleaner rang the doorbell repeatedly but there was no response from Chatterjee’s room. The hotel authorities called the police, who broke the door down,” he said.
The Orrisa police had been alerted by their Calcutta counterparts about Chatterjee’s suicide plan after a call made to his cellphone on Tuesday afternoon was traced to Puri.
“The address in the hotel register does not exist. Chatterjee was deliberately hiding his identity before committing suicide,” an officer of Behala police station said.
In his letter to the SUCI state secretary, copies of which were sent to the media, Chatterjee charged Ghosh and his “cohorts” with promoting themselves at the cost of the party’s founding father, Sibdas Ghosh, and other senior leaders like Nihar Mukherjee.
He also accused them of hobnobbing with real estate promoters and “foreign-funded” NGOs and blamed them for the party’s diminishing support and organisational base.
“I wanted to save the party from within. But I failed…. That’s why I am taking leave of you. You won’t see me again. I have decided to end my life. You are responsible for this,’’ the letter had said.
Before Chatterjee’s body was found, the party rubbished his allegations and expelled him from the party.
The SUCI leadership accused Chatterjee of “non-communist deviations” and financial irregularities.