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Deb ‘extortionist’ alert for traders

Siliguri, April 4: Minister Gautam Deb today alerted businessmen from Siliguri and the nearby areas to “extortionists” and asked the traders to refrain from paying up to them ahead of the polls.

“We want to alert businessmen, tea planters and those engaged in the tourism sector. If extortionists ask for money on the pretext of election campaigns, they must refrain from paying. We will also appeal to the business community in the hills to be on alert,” Deb said at a news conference here.

The comment follows yesterday’s incident in which a businessman was allegedly asked to pay up Rs 2.5 lakh by a caller who introduced himself as Bimal Gurung and wanted the cash for poll “campaign”. The youth was later arrested.

Yesterday, a man was detained after the personal security officer of Gurung complained that he had a firearm.

“The arrested person was a Trinamul worker but on January 3, 2014, he joined the Morcha,” Deb said today.

Today, six panchayat members from Siliguri subdivision joined Trinamul during the conference. Later, Deb left for a road show in Jalpaiguri.