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Manna case claims ‘PC Party’

Railway police have suspended patrolling by “plainclothes parties” in the wake of a CID probe into whether sub-inspector Arindam Manna’s death had anything to do with him being dropped from one such team.

“From now on, all our personnel on patrol duty must be in uniform,” said the additional director-general of the Government Railway Police (GRP), Dilip Mitra.

The buzz is that Arindam had been lobbying with some top officers to get back into the plainclothes patrol team — PC Party in railway police parlance — of Dum Dum GRP weeks before his death. The young sub-inspector, who was found beheaded on a rail track near Mankundu station in Hooghly on February 11, had been dropped from the squad after his alleged mentor was transferred.

Neither Mitra nor any senior colleague would say why a berth in a PC Party is considered a plum post but sources confirmed that sleuths were investigating whether Arindam had benefited in any way from being in the plainclothes team.

“One of his immediate seniors had warned him recently against trying to get back into the squad. He told Arindam that the CBI had asked for details about his assets. That might have scared him so much that he committed suicide,” a CID source said.

The inference partly tallies with the statements of Arindam’s father. According to Ashok Manna, his son had called home thrice between 9.30pm on February 10 and 1.40am the next day, urging him to destroy all documents pertaining to their house in Dasnagar, Howrah. “Arindam said he might have to face a CBI inquiry on the basis of complaints by colleagues who were out to harm his career,” Ashok Manna had told Metro.

Sleuths later found a bunch of property papers in Arindam’s trunk at the Dum Dum GRP office, sources said.

It couldn’t be confirmed whether the papers pertain to the sub-inspector’s Dasnagar house or some other property. Arindam, who was with the GRP for around six years, had taken a bank loan of Rs 3.5 lakh to build that house. The property is worth around Rs 15 lakh, a real estate agent said.

Arindam’s family maintains that he was murdered, though the reports of two autopsies have bolstered the police’s suicide theory. The CID on Wednesday interrogated the drivers and guards of three local trains that had passed through Mankundu between 7.30am and 8.30am on February 11.

A CID official said two possibilities had been eliminated since the probe began — a link between Arindam’s death and the Rizwanur Rahman case, in which he was the first investigating officer, and any “personal problem” with his family or fiancée.

“What remains to be probed are workplace-related problems. We have learnt that he had a fight with three colleagues a day before his death. He may have suffered some of the injuries we found on his body during that scuffle,” the CID official said.

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