Calcutta, Aug. 29: Hours after the Alipore sessions court awarded life sentences to Dulal Banerjee, CPM’s Cossipore-Dum Dum zonal committee member, and his two associates on charges of murder, Alimuddin Street mandarins expelled him “for tarnishing the party’s image”.
After a hurriedly convened meeting of the CPM secretariat this afternoon, Dulal was expelled. The leadership also formed a three-member committee with secretariat member Benoy Konar as its chairman to probe the charges against him.
“The expulsion has nothing to do with the court’s verdict. We have expelled Dulal under certain special circumstances as the charges (against him) are a blemish on the party’s image,” said CPM state secretary and politburo member Anil Biswas.
Reacting to the verdict, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee patted police on the back. “The police deserve praise for handling the case well,” he said.
Ninth additional district and sessions judge Gopal Chandra Sarkar said Dulal and his associates were found guilty of abducting two youths, murdering them and trying to destroy evidence.
Apart from the life terms, the trio was fined Rs 10,000 each for the first two offences and Rs 5,000 each for the third. The judge said the money would be distributed among the victims’ widows.
The twin murders took place on a playground at South Sinthi in north Calcutta on March 4, 2002. The local CPM tried to brush the incident under the carpet saying Chandan Chakraborty, 45, and Sanjeev Goswami, 28, were thieves lynched by a mob.
The police had to start a murder case after Chandan’s widow Sandhya lodged a complaint alleging that Dulal and his associates had killed her husband and left the body on railway tracks.
The police recovered the bodies with multiple injuries and sent them for post-mortem.
Twelve days after the twin murders, Krishnendu Ghosh and Sushanta Khara were arrested. Dulal was picked up a month later amid protests from CPM members of the Cossipore-Dum Dum area. Four other associates of Dulal are still absconding.
Citu leader and CPM MLA from Belgachhia (West) Rajdeo Goala was said to have taken the lead in steering protests against the police for harassing Dulal. The chief minister had to intervene to ensure that the force did not have to bow to pressure from its political masters.
The CPM had then instituted a committee to probe the charges against its leader. Its report was not made public.
During trial, Dulal had reportedly threatened residents of the area with dire consequences, if they testified against him.