Jalpaiguri, March 17: Even as the supporters appeared doubtful about his ability to provide that extra push as a fugitive captain and speculated on a split in the party, KPP chief Nikhil Roy turned himself over to police today.
Roy, however, chose to describe his surrender at the office of the Jalpaiguri superintendent of police as “a willingness to interact with the police”.
Siddh Nath Gupta, the district police chief, confirmed that Roy had surrendered. “He came to my office with some Kamtapur People’s Party leaders around five in the evening. He has been arrested and will be forwarded to court tomorrow.”
Roy has been on the run since November 1999, when he was accused of being involved in the armed loot of the railway payroll shipment at Rangapani station. The surrender comes within 15 hours of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s call to militants to give up arms and return to “a dignified life”.
Roy, who replaced Atul Roy as the KPP chief last week, said: “The police, of late, have not been allowing our supporters to attend meetings and rallies. I definitely have some duty as the party chief and so I chose to talk to them, irrespective of what the outcome may be. We have never believed in militancy.” He, however, did not say why he was underground for the past three years.
The KPP central committee would control the activities of the party in his absence, said Roy when asked how the party would operate with its leader behind the bars.
“We have many active members in our committee. Even if I am behind bars, I can help them with strategies,” he said.
The fugitive leader denied being involved with the militant Kamtapur Liberation Organisation. “I was never involved with the KLO. The cause is the same but the paths are different. The police, under the patronage of the state government, have framed charges against me to put brakes on the Kamtapuri movement,” Roy added.