The gathering with Trinamul flags in front of the Presidency University gate moments before the campus was ransacked on April 10, 2013
nApril 10, 2013: Presidency University vandalised by “outsiders” carrying Trinamul Congress flags and festoons.
nApril 10, 2014: Police yet to ascertain who the “outsiders” are.
Cops are citing the yet-to-be-complete investigation in an attempt to explain away their failure to identify and file a chargesheet against those who went on the rampage on the Presidency campus flaunting flags and festoons of the ruling party.
“We are yet to conclude the probe. Charegsheet could be submitted only after a probe is over,” said a senior officer dealing with the case.
A chargesheet is a compilation of documents and evidences collected against the accused that substantiates the police’s decision to arrest them. Without a chargesheet, a case cannot proceed to the trial stage.
On April 10 last year, a group of men had barged into the College Street campus and vandalised the physics laboratory in the historic Baker building while a handful of policemen had stood outside, allegedly watching the chaos turn into a crisis.
Five students were arrested on charges of rioting with dangerous weapons, causing grievous hurt with dangerous weapons and criminal intimidation.
All five — Subhajit Burman, 19, of Surendranath College, Munna Singh, 22, a final-year BCom student at City College, Aranyabrata Chakravarty, 22, an MBA student, Chiranjeet Gayen, 24, a graduate from City College, and Jayanta Howladar, 19, a first-year student at Surendranath College — are supporters of the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad. They were released on bail a few days later.
“They were arrested only after their presence was confirmed by witnesses or video footage. However, they were all spotted outside the gate. Only a few persons were spotted inside the building and their faces were not clear on the TV footage. They are yet to be identified,” said an officer of Jorasanko police station.
Another senior officer pointed out, in an attempt to deny allegations of delay, there is no deadline for filing a chargesheet. “We try to file a charegsheet within three months of the arrest of the accused. Failure to do so makes the accused eligible for bail. But in this case there is no hurry as the accused have been booked under bailable sections,” said an officer not attached to the probe.
The case received its first blow when Santosh (Pappu) Singh, the Presidency guard who was one of the prime witnesses in the case and had reportedly testified against the known faces among the attackers, joined a Trinamul-affiliated employees’ union in December.
Apart from the main case, two more cases were filed in connection with the April 10 attack.
Two Presidency students — Debarshi Chakraborty and Chhandak Chatterjee — had to seek anticipatory bail on April 12 as the man who allegedly led the attack, Tathagata Saha, filed an FIR alleging an assault by the duo.
Debarshi lodged a third case against local Trinamul councillor Partha Bose and Trinamul student leader Tamaghna Ghosh, who were allegedly among the attackers.
All four were granted bail after they surrendered.
The chargesheets against the Presidency students are also pending, a police officer said, almost insinuating that they, too, could be in trouble if the police fast-tracked the investigation.
Some police sources blamed the university’s “non-cooperation” for the delay. “University officials are not giving any conclusive information about whether a javelin had gone missing from their keep. It is being said that the attackers had brought the javelin from outside. But none of the video footage shows anyone entering the premises with a javelin. Such javelins are present in the university’s store,” said a police officer.
The university had a different take on the javelin. “How would the javelin be spotted in the video footage? It was wrapped in a political party’s flag when someone carried it into the premises,” said an official. They also rubbished allegations of non-cooperation.
Governor M.K. Narayanan, the chancellor of the university, had said during his visit to the campus on April 12: “Let us investigate into what had happened…. I will wait to see what the police investigation reveals.”
Student leader Chakraborty said students were disappointed over the slow-mo probe.
Vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar declined comment when asked about the “delay” on Wednesday.