Durgapur, Sept. 1: The Eastern Coalfields Ltd clerk accused of holding a gun to the forehead of a company executive was arrested on a day Trinamul leaders criticised the coal major’s decision to close down Kumardih colliery and threatened agitation.
“We arrested Bappaditya Mukherjee from a jungle in Kumardihi this evening and have charged him with intimidation and wrongful confinement. He will be produced in court tomorrow. A search is on for the others,” said S.S. Murugan, the assistant commissioner of police (east).
Trinamul insiders, however, said Mukherjee surrendered before the police.
ECL had yesterday announced the closure of the colliery for an indefinite period after a section of INTTUC workers allegedly beat up and detained seven company officials for over three hours on Friday night.
The Trinamul trade union members were furious after an ECL welfare officer allegedly threatened by Mukherjee lodged a police complaint against him.
INTTUC leaders in Asansol and Durgapur today threatened to launch a movement against the company for shutting down the colliery, saying it was out to malign the image of the state government that is trying to attract investment to Bengal.
The INTTUC general secretary of all ECL collieries in the twin towns, Hareram Singh, said the union would organise a sit-in outside Kumardih colliery from tomorrow.
“We are not supporting the treatment meted out to the ECL executives. But that doesn’t mean the company has to shut down the colliery. They are trying to attract the media’s attention,” Singh said.
The INTTUC leader added that the union would take the “strictest possible action” against Mukherjee and the others if they were found guilty.
Agriculture minister Malay Ghatak, who is from Asansol, also criticised ECL’s decision to shut down the colliery. “The ECL should not have closed down the colliery. Why does coal production have to suffer? INTTUC will hold a meeting tomorrow to protest this,” he said.
The ECL management today said it would take disciplinary action against Mukherjee and the other accused, all of whom are employees. “Mukherjee could be suspended. We have also identified the others who had detained our officials on Friday night and action will be taken against them also,” said Niladri Roy, the director (technical) of ECL.