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Surprise cop visit to GTA premises
- Seven police cars in lal khoti, leaders upset

Darjeeling, July 4: A police convoy of seven cars arrived at the GTA administrative headquarters unannounced this morning and became a cause of consternation for the hill body’s leaders, who have said they would write to the state home secretary.

GTA sources and leaders said the cars that arrived at 11am and stayed for 10 minutes. Some policemen were seen checking vehicles on the Lal Khoti premises.

Binay Tamang, an executive GTA Sabha member, said: “I was informed that the additional superintendent of police of Darjeeling today entered the Lal Khoti with a convoy of seven police vehicles around 11am without intimating the GTA about the need to visit the premises.

“I have directed the secretary of the GTA to seek a report from the higher authorities of the police department on the purpose of the visit and have also told the secretary to request the police to give prior intimation of such visits.”

The alleged surprise visit by the police team has happened days after an elected GTA member, Kaziman Lohagun, was arrested as an accused in the Jamuni land case.

Lohagun is accused of supplying arms to six persons who threatened a landowner who alleged his plot was forcibly taken by the GTA for a tourism project.

The GTA has announced that the hill body would relocate the tourism project from the disputed area in Jamuni.

There was a buzz in administrative circles today that the police were looking for GTA Sabha member Satish Pokhrel, whose name had cropped up in the investigation related to alleged threatening of a landowner from Jamuni. There is no official confirmation on this from the police, though.

Don Bosco Lepcha, secretary of the GTA, who was asked about the visit by the police, said he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Sources in the GTA said the hill body would write to a state home secretary referring to Tamang’s letter to the GTA secretary. “A letter would also be sent to the Darjeeling SP and the matter would be conveyed to the Darjeeling district magistrate,” said a GTA source.

Darjeeling police chief Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi said the team had gone to check a police camp located on the Lal Khoti premises.

“There is a police camp located on the Lal Khoti premises and some officers might have visited the camp,” he said.

Asked if the police needed permission to visit any premises, Chaturvedi replied in the negative.

Six constables and an assistant sub-inspector of police are stationed at Lal Khoti for security.

Tamang, however, said the police did not visit the camp.

“I have been informed that the police personnel did not visit the area where the camp is located but they looked around in vehicles that were parked on the GTA office premises. They came towards the main Lal Khoti building,” Tamang said.

S. Sarkar, the Darjeleing additional SP, said he had gone “to visit the camp”.

Officials in the GTA, too, said that they were surprised.

“Usually, government officials send a requisition to the police for deployment of personnel where the officers apprehend trouble in cases like submission of deputations,” said a GTA official who did not want to be named.