|Bimal Gurung and
Calcutta, April 1: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and wife Asha were granted anticipatory bail by Calcutta High Court today in the case of a murder bid on the bodyguard of slain rival leader Madan Tamang.
The bails were granted by the division bench of Justice Jayanta Kumar Biswas and Justice Indrajit Chatterjee.
Both Gurung and his wife were charged with attempting to murder Maheswar Thakuri, the security guard of ABGL leader Madan Tamang, on May 21, 2010. On the same day, Tamang was hacked to death in Darjeeling allegedly by a Morcha mob.
A Darjeeling district and sessions court had denied Gurung and Asha anticipatory bail in the case, following which the lawyers representing the Morcha chief and his wife decided to approach the high court.
Asha is also implicated in the torching of the house of GNLF leader Dawa Pakhrin in Kalimpong in July 2008 following the death of Pramila Sharma, a Morcha supporter.
Asha, a GTA member and a leader of the Gorkha Janmukti Nari Morcha, was given anticipatory bail in this case as well. About the case of murder bid on Madan Tamang’s bodyguard, the bench said: “The case against the accused had been started in 2010. The police did nothing till 2013. Instead, both have been shown as absconders.”
The court added that both Gurung and his wife “have been seen in public and have appeared in public programmes even in the presence of the chief minister and the Union home minister. The police had not given any importance to the case. We are granting the anticipatory bails as we are seeing the cases with leniency.”
Appearing for Gurung and Asha, senior advocate Milan Mukherjee handed over a photograph to the court that showed a meeting in Darjeeling after the formation of the GTA in 2012 where both Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the then Union home minister, P. Chidambaram, were present with Gurung.
Mukherjee said that since 2010, the police did not give any importance to the case.
“But in September last year, five years after the house attack case and over three years after Tamang’s murder, the investigators issued chargesheets and later a proclamation notice against Bimal Gurung,” he said.
“The case against the petitioners had started in 2010 and the police were not arresting them and showing them as absconding,” said the lawyer.
Gurung and Asha were charged with section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and section 148 and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC.
Justice Biswas questioned the role of the police in handling the case of the alleged murder attempt on Madan Tamang’s bodyguard.
“On going through the case files it seems that the investigating officer is half-prepared. The case was started in 2010 but the chargesheet was submitted in 2013,” the judge said.
He also mentioned the Madan Tamang murder case, saying: “In the Madan Tamang murder case, 36 accused were chargesheeted and Bimal Gurung’s name was at the end of the list. In the Kalimpong case, 31 were chargesheeted and Asha Gurung’s name is also at the end of the list. It seems that there are some documents that have been inserted at a later date.”
On behalf of the state government, public prosecutor Manjit Singh opposed the anticipatory bail plea.