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CID to probe death, warden suspended

The government on Tuesday asked the CID to probe Happy Singh’s murder inside Presidency jail on Monday morning even as the prison department suspended jail warden Rakesh Biswas and served a showcause notice to head warden Mohammed Ishaq Ali for alleged negligence.

Harpreet Singh alias Happy, who was arrested from New Delhi for his role in the kidnap of shoe baron Partha Pratim Roy Burman in 2001 and convicted in 2009, died after being hit on his head by mentally ill inmate Nizamuddin while he was performing yoga.

The murder happened outside the ward meant for high-security prisoners in Presidency Jail.

“Every warden has to cover a beat inside a jail. Biswas was meant to be on duty outside the high-security ward,” said a senior jail official. “When the incident happened, it appears he was nowhere around and arrived only after 37-year-old Happy was hit with a brick.”

Biswas was one of the 80 wardens requisitioned for poll duty on May 12. The jail authorities have informed the Election Commission that he would not report for poll duty.

Preliminary investigations revealed two inmates witnessed the aftermath of the alleged assault. “Dinesh Kailash Wankhede, an undertrial lodged in cell No. 33, saw from a distance Happy bleeding from his nose and Nizamuddin was standing close by,” a source said.

“Siddhartha Koley alias Raja, lodged in cell No. 41, rushed and grabbed Nizamuddin by his yellow T-shirt before sounding the alert. A few others rushed to the spot and helped carry Happy to the jail hospital,” the source added.

According to prison department insiders, accounts of the two inmates have been tagged with the preliminary report on the incident that was sent to home secretary Basudeb Banerjee on Thursday.

A detailed report along with the findings of the autopsy on Happy and the role of other senior officials, including that of chief controller Uttam Kumar, will follow soon.

Sources in the home department said a senior officer in the CID would conduct the probe.

It is likely that Bharati Ghosh, former police superintendent of West Midnapore who was transferred following an Election Commission order, will head the probe.

“The probe would cover all the aspects, including details of Nizamuddin’s treatment in the jail hospital and outside, the security arrangement outside the high-security ward and whether it was an accidental death or otherwise,” said a senior official of the health department.

A team of officers from Hastings police station collected CCTV footage from the jail.

The preliminary inquiry also revealed presence of bricks inside the complex, which is a gross violation of the jail code.

“It is surprising how jail officials allowed bricks to be left inside the jail compound. But what is more shocking is the fact that the inmates used bricks for bodybuilding…. these were used as dumbbells,” said a senior police officer.

The inquest of the deceased person’s body could not be conducted on Tuesday as no one from his family had turned up.

Sources in the police said that a relative from Delhi had called Calcutta police to inform that he could not come to Calcutta on Tuesday because it was not possible to book a train ticket at such a short notice. The relative is expected to reach the city by Wednesday.