The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal police in Nithari nap

New Delhi/Behrampore, Nov. 1: After the Rizwanur Rahman tragedy, Bengal police’s role is under the scanner in a mystery death in another high-profile case: the Nithari child killings.

The state home secretary must now explain to the Supreme Court why no first information report was registered after key Nithari witness Jatin Sarkar’s body was found in the river Bhagirathi in Murshidabad two months ago and his wife alleged foul play.

An FIR was registered this evening, hours after the court issued a notice to the home secretary on a petition from Sarkar’s wife Bandana, 45.

Sarkar died on September 1, nine days before he was to depose in a Ghaziabad court against Nithari accused Maninder Singh Pandher, whose Noida house threw up at least 19 human skulls.

The CBI charged Pandher with relatively minor offences, pinning the rape and murder blames on his domestic hand Surendra Koli, but Bandana says Sarkar had a copy of Pandher’s alleged police confession that the CBI had “suppressed”.

The Murshidabad police said Sarkar’s autopsy had revealed drowning, but Bandana claims he was killed and dumped in the river.

Bandana told the court she had lodged a complaint with Murshidabad superintendent of police Rahul Srivastava the day the body was found but no FIR had been registered.

She alleged that certain CBI officials conspired to “eliminate” Sarkar to protect Pandher, and were now plotting to kill her and other key witnesses.

She named CBI director Vijay Shankar, superintendent S.J.M. Gilani and circle officer Dinesh Yadav among the alleged plotters, but not joint director Arun Kumar who led the investigation and now heads the Rizwanur probe.

The inspector in charge of Behrampore police station, Dilip Ganguly, said Bandana had sent her complaint by registered post to the SP’s residence two weeks ago.

“It was posted from Calcutta, written in Bengali and had a thumb impression. We twice went to her home but didn’t find anyone. This evening she was at home and we called her to the police station to verify the letter.”

Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, a senior criminal lawyer, said the police should have registered an FIR straight away.

Sarkar’s daughter Pinki, 19, was one of the Nithari victims. The Noida rickshaw-puller returned to his Murshidabad village after the tragedy but moved the Ghaziabad court to get Pandher charged with Pinki’s murder.

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