Cops grill BJP leader on stampede deaths
A police team led by two assistant commissioners on Saturday interrogated BJP councillor Chaitali Tiwari on her role in the recent blanket distribution programme in Asansol attended by leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, where a stampede claimed three lives.
The investigating officers quizzed Chaitali in Asansol Municipal Corporation in her flat at Ghanshyam Apartment in the town for nearly two hours from 10am. Sources said the police asked her 30 questions and she remained silent to most.
The questioning of Chaitali took place after the Calcutta High Court allowed the police to interrogate her “but for not more than two hours”.
The court also directed the police that no coercive actions can be taken against her till January 18 after she moved the court challenging the police FIR holding her and several others responsible for the tragedy. The court asked the BJP leader to cooperate with investigating officers probing the stampede deaths.
The police team also refused to speak on this matter. Sources said the cops may again interrogate Chaitali Tiwari on Monday.
Chaitali’s husband, Jitendra Tiwari, who is a BJP leader and former Asansol mayor, accused the police of mentally harassing his wife in the name of interrogation and investigations.
“The police are trying to put pressure on us in the name of investigations so that we leave Bengal. They are harassing my wife in the name of interrogation to please Trinamul leaders,” alleged Jitendra Tiwari.
He said the police did not cut short the interrogation despite Chaitali’s repeated complaints that she was having physical problems.
“My wife felt sick after the two-hour interrogation. The police didn’t bother to cut it short though it was apparent that she was unwell,” he said.
Contacted, the police refused to comment on this charge.
On December 14 two women and a minor girl died in a stampede at the blanket distribution event organised by the local unit of the BJP shortly after the leader of the Opposition and BJP Namdigram MLA Suvendu Adhikari, who was the chief guest, left the event along with some local party leaders.
Police later started a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against 10 persons, including Jitendra and Chaitali Tiwari, on the basis of a complaint lodged by the son of one of the victims last Saturday.
In response to Jitendra’s allegations of political vendetta, Trinamul leaders said that it was a matter for the police and administration to probe into, and the party had no role in it.
“Three persons, including a minor girl had to pay with their lives because of the negligence of the BJP leaders. Police are probing the matter and we have no role in it,” said Bidhan Upadhyay, Asansol mayor and a Trinamul leader.