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5 in hospital, Madan wife sees ruse

Darjeeling, Feb. 17: Bharati Tamang, the wife of slain ABGL leader Madan Tamang, today said she would request the chief minister for an investigation into why five Morcha leaders accused in her husband’s murder were moved to a hospital after being arrested.

Bharati, who is the working president of the ABGL, said she would also inform the Supreme Court about the matter.

The CBI had arrested five Morcha leaders named in the CID chargesheet from the Darjeeling station taxi stand on Friday morning.

One of the accused, Dinesh Gurung who is a former vice-chairman of the Darjeeling municipality, was moved to the district hospital the same evening. The other four — Alok Kant Mani Thulung, Puran Thami, Kismat Chhetri and Keshavraj Pokhrel — were taken to the hospital yesterday.

“I have heard that all the five accused have been shifted to the district hospital. This is a ploy to keep them in a comfortable place. All of them looked in good health but suddenly they have been admitted to the hospital,” Bharati said.

“I will apprise the chief minister about the development and will request her to look into the matter. We will also highlight this point before the Supreme Court,” she said.

The ABGL had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court on December 4, 2012, praying for a fresh investigation by a court-appointed special investigation team into Madan Tamang’s murder.

A hearing is scheduled this week.

Madan Tamang, who was the most prominent Morcha rival leader in the hills, was stabbed to death at the Darjeeling’s Motor Stand on May 21, 2010, allegedly by a Morcha mob when he was about to address a public meeting there.

The case was being investigated by the CID but was handed over to CBI in January 2011 after the prime accused, Nickole Tamang, escaped from custody.

Thirty people had been named in a chargesheet filed by the CID. One person, Dipen Mallay, was named in a supplementary chargesheet the CBI filed.

Nine were arrested. Of them, one died, two persons are out on bail. All those arrested were known to have links with the Morcha.

When the five were arrested on Friday at the taxi stand, ABGL leader Pratap Khati raised doubts of a “tacit understanding” between a section of the Morcha and the CBI to get the five arrested.

“The (Darjeeling district) correctional home does not have a doctor since 2010. We only have a pharmacist on contract. When an inmate complains of some health problems, the jail authorities refer them to the (district) hospital. These are questions related to human rights and we cannot take the risk of keeping them in custody. No doctor has agreed to come to the correctional home,” said a jail source.

Dinesh Gurung had reportedly showed scars on his body to the prison authorities.

“One of the inmates said he had recently undergone a liver implant and would need medical assistance on a daily basis. A single injection costs Rs 1,700 and its been given to him at the district hospital. We cannot take any risk with anyone’s life,” the source added.

One of the lawyers representing the accused said on condition of anonymity: “It is not illegal to send an inmate to a local hospital if he suffers from some ailment. If the situation demands, the inmates can also be referred outside the region. The other arrested persons are suffering from appendix and high blood pressure among other health problems.”

Hospital superintendent R. Ghosh said he was out of station now and was not aware of the details. “You could speak to Dr. Kumar who is in charge of the hospital at the moment,” he said. When contacted Kumar said: “I cannot make any comments today .”