The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Accused cries foul

Dhantola (Nadia) April 27: Expelled CPM leader and the alleged mastermind of the loot-and-rape incident here, Subol Bagchi, today held his former party colleagues responsible for a “frameup”.

Bagchi has been training guns on the party since his arrest, a day after the incident on the night of February 6, and subsequent expulsion from the CPM. But today was the first time he opened his mouth since his release on bail amid a rousing reception by supporters and a section of the CPM.

“I was made a scapegoat by a section of the leadership under a powerful minister from the district,” the former secretary of the CPM’s Aranghata zonal committee said. “I was becoming a threat to the district leadership as of late the workers of Ranaghat (east) started refusing the directives imposed upon them. They declined to do anything without discussing it with me.”

Immediately after his arrest, CPM leaders had said Bagchi was eyeing the Assembly seat and when he saw there was no hope for him, he wanted to teach prospective candidate Sanath Dhali a lesson.

Passengers of two buses returning from wedding receptions were looted and raped in an incident that sent shockwaves across the state. One of the buses attacked was carrying relatives of Dhali, who were returning from his son’s wedding.

Seven women, among those returning to Kuchiamora in North 24-Parganas from a wedding in Biranagar, were also molested during the assault. The men were asked to climb on to the roofs at gunpoint. The driver of one of the buses was allegedly shot dead when he recognised some of the molesters.

Bagchi, a former chemistry teacher at Aranghata High School, said the party leaders asked the police to “fix him at any cost” after coming to know he was the first party member to reach the spot.

“I asked superintendent Benoy Chakraborty that though there was a police camp less than a kilometre from the spot how could they not hear anything. Later, everyone put up the same argument,” he said. Bagchi added that he was repeatedly slapped in the police station and Saidul Karigar, a former CPM panchayat pradhan and another accused, who was on the floor writhing in pain pleaded him to admit that they had masterminded the attack.

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