Singur call & court drama

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By OUR BUREAU in Delhi
  • Published 4.07.07
Suhrid Dutta: Relieved?

Calcutta/New Delhi, July 4: The CBI has widened the scope of the Tapasi Malik murder probe on a day it cut a sorry figure in a Delhi court.

Notices were served on Singur police station officer-in-charge Priyabrata Bakshi and six others this evening. They have been asked to appear at the CBI office in Salt Lake tomorrow.

Earlier, the bureau was accused of violating National Human Rights Commission guidelines by not taking Suhrid Dutta’s consent for a polygraph test in the presence of a magistrate.

The officer summoned by the CBI in Calcutta was among the first policemen to reach Bajemelia after Tapasi was allegedly raped and set on fire on December 17-18 night.

A CBI officer said the bureau could call anybody for the sake of investigation.

The Hooghly district police refused to identify the six others who have been summoned.

In the Patiala House court, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Kamini Lau asked Suhrid to decide by 10am tomorrow if he wanted to undergo the lie-detector test.

“I don’t even know exactly what a polygraph test is,” Suhrid told reporters as he walked out of the courtroom.

The court asked the CBI yesterday to respond to a petition by the CPM leader’s lawyers — D.K. Aggarwal, Pawan Narain and Arindam Bhattacharya — who had been denied permission to meet him.

Investigating officer P.S. Bose told the court the bureau had taken the Chandernagore court’s consent after Suhrid was arrested. The magistrate dismissed the argument, saying the consent was for transit remand as he was being brought to Delhi, not a polygraph test.

Bose then said the polygraph test was started only after the CBI obtained Dutta’s consent. But Lau insisted that the consent had to be taken before a magistrate.

The magistrate asked the CBI to produce Suhrid in court immediately. A CBI team rushed to its headquarters and returned with him.

Lau heard Suhrid in-camera for 15 minutes, after which the lawyers representing him and the CBI joined them.

The former CPM Singur zonal committee leader, who, according to the CBI, masterminded Tapasi’s murder, told the magistrate he needed time before taking a decision and the court told him to make up his mind by tomorrow.

The test, which started yesterday, is still inconclusive, the CBI said.

The guidelines say the lie detector test should be voluntary and draw a distinction between volunteering and being a volunteer.

According to the guidelines, there is a difference between a person saying, “I wish to take a lie detector test because I wish to clear my name”, and a person being told by the police: “If you want to clear your name, take a lie-detector test.”