The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Congress calls for CBI inquiry into ambush

Purulia, Oct. 16: The district Congress today demanded a CBI inquiry into the ambush in the Kantajora forest on Saturday in which the officer-in-charge of Bandwan police station was killed and five policemen were seriously injured.

Raids are on in the villages surrounding the landmine blast and ambush site and near the border with Jharkhand, said inspector-general (western range) Gautam Chakraborty. He has returned to Bandwan to join the DIG (Midnapore range) and the district superintendent of police in supervising the investigation.

Statements by the 13 persons arrested so far were video recorded today. The tapes will be played before the director-general of police at Writers’ Buildings.

Justifying the demand for a CBI probe, Congress’ district secretary Sukumar Ray said the police had been unable to identify the informer who misled the Bandwan officer about a “secret meeting being held by extremists” in the forests. “Considering that a CPM zonal committee member has been detained for interrogation and two other cadre have been arrested, we demand an impartial inquiry into the incident. Was the informer also linked to the CPM'” he asked.

District Congress president and MLA Nepal Mahato said anti-CPM activities had increased in Bandwan recently. “Was all this the doing of disenchanted CPM members' The people of Purulia are a simple lot. They want to know why such a serious incident took place. The ruling party must give a reply.”

The Congress leaders demanded a white paper on the district’s development in the past 26 years. They said tax rates on farmland and agricultural produce here could not be the same as in other districts as Purulia is a water-scarce, single-crop district. Most other districts produce three crops in a year.

“The intelligence failure leading to the OC’s death and the fact that there is still no concrete evidence to nail the attackers indicate the collapse of the administration,” said Ray.

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