Darjeeling, Oct. 22: The promptness shown by Darjeeling police to attach the properties of absconders in the Madan Tamang murder case is a move to pre-empt a directive from Calcutta High Court to transfer the investigation to the CBI, lawyers and opposition parties said here today.
The CID, a state agency, is now handling the case.
The drive to attach the properties of absconders began yesterday with police swooping down on the homes of three accused in the Tamang murder case, attaching their trunks full of clothes and some chairs.
Today, too, the drive continued with the police attaching the personal belongings, including television sets, of Kismat Chhetri, the president of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s student union, and Kesar Rai, a former commissioner from Ward 30 in Darjeeling.
According to the ABGL, the party had filed a writ petition in the high court praying that the Tamang murder case be handed over to the CBI since the state police were dragging its feet in cracking down on the killers. It had also asked the court to ensure that till such time that this was done it should monitor the progress made by the state police in the case.
In response, the court had directed the state police to produce before it a status report, within four weeks of the court reopening after the Puja vacation, on the progress it had made in tracking down Tamang’s killers.
A couple of days ago, Samar Kumar Bose, the lawyer representing the ABGL in the high court, sent letters to all the respondents to the case, including the state home secretary, the director-general of police and the additional director-general of police (CID), the investigating officer (CID) and the Darjeeling superintendent of police, telling them that the deadline for submitting the “status report” was drawing near.
“This was the wake-up call for the state police, especially with the court set to reopen soon,” said a prominent Darjeeling lawyer. “To me it is clear that the police have suddenly been stirred into action to show the court that they are taking all possible steps to crack the case and arrest the culprits so that the court does not direct the CBI to take over the case.”
According to Dawa Sherpa, the working president of the ABGL, it appears that that the police have swung into action so that they can tell the court that they are not “sitting on the case”.
“They can then argue that the CID is properly handling the case.” Sherpa said the ABGL’s decision to file the writ petition in the high court was beginning to have the “desired effect”.
“Even if they are attaching the trunks and clothes of the absconders, at least the legal process is being taken forward.”