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Since 1st March, 1999
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Nitish writes to Gogoi on youth murder case

Patna/Guwahati, Aug. 17: Chief minister Nitish Kumar has written a letter to his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi giving details about the steps taken by Bihar police in solving the Pritam Bhattacharjee murder case.

It was in response to a letter written by the Assam CM to him (Nitish) on the issue, said home department principal secretary Amir Subhani today.

Subhani, however, made it clear that there was no mention of a CBI probe into the case, which the Assam government and the slain youths family have been demanding. The letter gives an update of the police action in the case, including the arrests made so far, Subhani said.

Confirming the communication between the two CMs, a senior officer in the Assam chief ministers office said: The letter came two-three days back. Though there is no mention of a CBI probe as requested by the Assam CM, Nitish has assured Gogoi of taking all possible steps to nab the culprits and has put a few senior officers on the job.

Assam student Pritam (25) was abducted from Naughachia station and subsequently killed in June. The Bihar police now believe that they have identified the culprits.

Additional director-general (headquarters) Ravindra Kumar said the gang involved in the abduction and murder of Pritam has been identified. One person has been arrested and four other members of the gang are absconding. Efforts are on to apprehend them, he said. One Chhotu Sahni, who is an active member of a gang involved in crime on trains, has been arrested.

On July 2, the principal secretary home, political and passport departments, government of Assam, Sailesh, wrote a letter to Subhani referring to the crime and asking for a personal intervention to book the culprits. Gogoi has written two letters to Nitish in this regard. On July 25, he stated that the murder of the young man with a bright future has sent shockwaves across Assam.

The people of the state have sought immediate action to book the culprits involved so that justice can be rendered. I would like to mention that innumerable people of Assam travel through Bihar daily and this dastardly act has raised apprehensions about their safety, Gogoi wrote in the letter. He, however, appreciated the efforts of the Bihar government in sending an inspector-general-level officer to probe the matter.

However, the second letter sent to Nitish on August 9 clearly indicated the frustration.

We were assured by the Bihar police that serious efforts are being undertaken to identity the culprits. However, it seems that the investigation has not made any significant headway in spite of the effort made by the local police, and the actual culprits are still at large. It is important that the perpetrators of the murder of late Bhattacharjee are quickly tracked down. Various organisations, individuals as well as the bereaved family have demanded that the case should be handed over to the CBI so that culprits are apprehended and justice is done at the earliest. I request you to actively consider handing over the case to the CBI, Gogoi stated.

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