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Wanted: questions for ‘conspirator’

- Leniency without liberty as kerosene plot probe draws a blank
Jyotirmoy Nandi

Identity: Established and verified.

Background check: Done. Nothing suspicious yet.

Intention: Entered Writers’ Buildings for pest control.

Dilemma: What to ask the suspect next?

Solution: Be lenient, let him sit outside the lock-up, buy him edible food, chat with him and provide blankets at night.

Status: Suspected conspirator who plotted to set Writers’ on fire. In police custody since Saturday.

Calcutta, Dec. 3: Those who have cracked “the kerosene conspiracy” have run out of questions for the “conspirator”.

“What will we ask him? We have all the answers…. We have not come across any lead to suspect him of hatching a conspiracy to burn down Writers’,” said a senior officer at the Lalbazar police headquarters, referring to Jyotirmoy Nandi.

Jyotirmoy, 47, was arrested and charged with grave offences a day after kerosene was found on the floors of the home publication department at Writers’ and the home secretary spoke of a conspiracy. Jyotirmoy’s wife says he is a pest controller who has been doing the same job for the past several years for the same department using the same concoction.

Sources at Hare Street police station, where the suspect is being kept, also said they could not find anything to prove the charge, following which they were showing as much leniency as possible.

According to the sources, Jyotirmoy was allowed to sit in a room outside the lock-up for most of the day. “We are spending money from our own pockets to provide him decent food. Sometimes, we converse with him to keep him in good humour. He has also been provided blankets at night because of the cold floor of the lock-up,” an officer said.

But leniency cannot replace liberty.

According to an officer, the police will have to oppose his bail plea in court and seek another round of custody on December 6, unless they receive instructions to the contrary.

“Everything depends on the government. If it tells us not to oppose the bail, we will do so. If we receive no word, we will have to oppose the plea. If we do not seek further remand, it will imply that our probe is over,” said the officer. “Since the home secretary spoke of a conspiracy, how can we wrap up the probe in just five days?”

A delegation from the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) called on the family of Jyotirmoy at their Serampore home and offered legal assistance. “We demand the home secretary’s unconditional apology,” APDR secretariat member Ranjit Sur said.

Neither the home secretary nor the chief secretary was available for comment despite repeated attempts.

Asked whether the human rights panel would look into the issue, chairperson Asok Kumar Ganguly said: “If we receive any complaint from members of the victim’s family, we will surely conduct an inquiry.”