| Activists take out a rally in Guwahati on Thursday to protest against the murder. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati/Jorhat, March 28: The criminal investigation department (CID) of Assam police will probe the Monday night murder of CPI (M-L) member and tea community leader Gangaram Koul, a crime that has since thrown up the name of a Congress legislator as one of the alleged perpetrators.
The CPI (M-L) state committee member and Assam Sangrami Chah Shramik Sangha general secretary was allegedly murdered near Panitola tea garden in Tinsukia district on Monday night while returning home on his motorcycle to the Gutibari line area of the tea estate.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi announced the CID probe through a press release today, hours after a complaint was lodged by CPI (M-L), naming Congress legislator from Chabua, Raju Sahu, as one of the six accused in the case.
Condemning the incident, Gogoi said the government was committed to nailing the culprits.
Bharat Chandra Narah, press adviser to the chief minister, told The Telegraph that the official order for the CID probe would be out by Saturday or Monday.
Congress tea cell chairman Bhagirath Karan, too, spoke out against the murder, seeking exemplary punishment for the culprits because killing of a person working for the downtrodden was “very unfortunate and condemnable.”
Koul had been at the forefront of protests against alleged largescale corruption in various schemes undertaken by gaon panchayats and PDS anomalies in the area. His widow, Chakila, had lodged a police complaint on Tuesday.
Subhas Sen, a member of the CPI (M-L) Assam unit standing committee and a colleague of the deceased, said he had lodged a fresh complaint with the Panitola police outpost, accusing Sahu and his associates of being behind the murder to silence Koul’s voice against corruption.
Sen also named Mridul Neog (Bajaltoli gaon panchayat president of the Congress), Bijoy Gohain (Panitola gaon panchayat president, also of the Congress), Mahesh Gowala, Dipak Thakuria (both Assam Cha Mazdoor Sangha office-bearers of Panitola tea garden) and Purushuttom Singh (public distribution system licensee) in the case.
He said a delegation led by him had called on Tinsukia superintendent of police P.P. Singh. He had demanded a CBI probe into the case to ensure that it was impartial. The superintendent of police said the fresh complaint would be clubbed with the one made by Koul’s widow and that action would be taken in accordance with the law.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner S.S. Meenakshi Sundaram has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killing by assistant commissioner Anant Gyani.
An Opposition delegation also called on governor J.B. Patnaik today, seeking a CBI probe into the murder along with Rs 25 lakh as compensation to the kin of the deceased.
The parties included CPI (ML), CPI, CPM, Aam Admi Party, AGP, All India Forward Bloc, Samajwadi Party and Revolutionary Socialist Party.
Pankaj Kumar Das, a member of the standing committee of the Assam unit of CPI (ML), said it was unfortunate that no official representative on behalf of the governor had come out to accept their memorandum on such a sensitive issue. “We had to hand over the memorandum to some security personnel at the main gate of the Raj Bhawan, which was very insulting. We were later arrested by police from the Latasil station. Such an undemocratic act of the administration and the police will not suppress out voice. We will continue to raise the demand for a CBI inquiry and compensation of Rs 25 crore,” he said.
Raj Bhawan sources said the governor could not meet the protesters because today was a holiday and that no appointment had been sought.
Assam PCC chief spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora, while welcoming the CID probe announced by Gogoi, condemned the killing and sought arrest of the culprits.