Tehatta, March 3: A vice associated with the northern states made its debut in Bengal ' Nikhil Biswas, a CPM panchayat member, has been arrested today for allegedly taking money from a farmer promising a job in Dubai and then leaving him with touts in Delhi.
Days after he left home in July 2003, Biswanath Mandal telephoned his wife to say he would land a job in the Gulf in a day or two. He did not tell Namita where he was or what he would be doing.
She told the police Biswas, a member of the Sitka village panchayat, about 160 km from Calcutta, took Rs 80,000 from Biswanath in July 2003.
To raise the money, he sold the small one-cottah plot he owned and mortgaged his wife's gold ornaments.
The same month, Biswas and his associate Ranjit Mirdha apparently took Biswanath to Delhi and returned leaving him behind.
'I don't know from where my husband contacted me. But there's been no word from him since July 2003 and I don't know where he is now,' Namita told the investigating officers at Tehatta police station.
Biswas, who had repeatedly evaded Namita's plea to reveal where he left Biswanath, was picked up from his home on Tuesday after she lodged a complaint at the Tehatta police station.
The police said he has confessed to the crime and accused his 'friend Ranjit' of hatching the plan.
Nadia additional superintendent Biswaroop Ghosh said Biswas admitted to having escorted Biswanath to Delhi along with Ranjit. 'He did not deny taking Rs 80,000 from the poor farmer. Biswas also told us that his friend Ranjit gave him the idea of making money by promising a job,' Ghosh said. Mirdha is absconding.
'Nikhil Biswas told me he had no idea about Biswanath as both of them (he and Ranjit) left Delhi after Biswanath met the people who were supposed to take him to Dubai,' Namita told the police.
Her elder son Biplab, who should have appeared in this year's Madhyamik, had to quit studies because of their financial crisis. Bablu, the younger son, has also dropped out of school. The brothers now work as contract labourers, while Namita makes bidi.
When local Trinamul Congress leader Sanjoy Dutta accompanied Namita to Biswas's house, they were allegedly turned away. Dutta advised Namita to go to the police station to lodge the official complaint.
Nadia CPM secretary Ashu Ghosh called the incident 'shameful'. He said: 'I have asked Biswanath Ghosh, the leader of our peasant wing in Tehatta, to inquire into the incident. This is a very shameful act on the part of a panchayat member' we will punish him.'