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Extortion finger at KPP

Siliguri, Dec. 30: The owner of a paper mill has filed a police complaint in Phansidewa saying he had got extortion calls from the Kamtapur Peoples’ Party (KPP), the revelation coming days after the KLO allegedly triggered a blast in Jalpaiguri and shot at a bus in Malda.

Kunal Aggarwal, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling, today named the KPP in the case, saying: “We have received a complaint from a paper mill owner in Phansidewa, that said he had received extortion calls in the name of the KPP. He has also informed us that a few days back, a receipt was handed to him by some local KPP leaders, asking for a donation of Rs 3,000. We are looking into the complaint and investigating the case.”

KPP president Atul Roy, asked about the call made to the businessman, said: “An extortion call cannot be made for a sum of Rs 3,000. The donation was sought for a local programme of our organisation but the manager of the industrial unit misbehaved with our local leaders and workers,” he said. “It is not an extortion of any kind and (his allegation) is simply an attempt to blemish the image of our party.”

Both the KLO and the KPP want a separate Kamtapur state and police sources said that the force was aware of several instances when the KPP sought funds from the KLO.

“Till 2003, before Operation Flushout was launched in Bhutan and top KLO leaders were arrested, money was extorted from businessmen and traders across north Bengal districts. The KLO also carried out a number of abductions in the region, collecting ransom to run the outfit,” an intelligence official said.

“As the KLO turned inactive after the operation, the trend of extortion stopped. It (the extortion calls) has, however, started again as the outfit is regrouping. The collections were, many times, done in the name of the KPP and on many occasions, the KLO-KPP nexus was evident.”

In 2011, after the Assembly polls, Parimal Roy, the KPP-backed Independent candidate who had contested the Alipurduar seat, was arrested along with Krishna Roy, a KLO linkman, for allegedly making extortion calls to a doctor. Police traced the calls to the cell phones the two had used to demand Rs 30,000 from Chandan Das, a doctor posted at the Alipurduar Junction Railway Hospital.

After KLO militant Ram Singh, alias Bharat Das, was gunned down in a police encounter in Kumargram on October 9, 2000, the cops found a letter on him that indicated a link between the militant oufit and the KPP.

“Addressed to KLO’s self-styled commander Jeevan Singh, the letter referred to a veteran KPP leader and appealed for financial aid,” a police officer said.