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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Sitalkuchi firing: CID quizzes former Cooch Behar police chief in Bhabani Bhavan

Debasish Dhar had to field 72 questions posed at him by senior officers about his actions on the day of the incident

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 19.06.21, 02:24 AM
Security personnel at Amtali MSK in Sitalkuchi of Cooch Behar after the CISF firing.

Security personnel at Amtali MSK in Sitalkuchi of Cooch Behar after the CISF firing. File photo

Suspended IPS officer and former Cooch Behar police chief Debasish Dhar was questioned for five hours at the CID headquarters in Bhabani Bhavan on Friday in connection with the firing by central forces in Sitalkuchi, which claimed four lives, during voting on April 10.

Dhar, who was placed under suspension after the Mamata Banerjee government came to power for the third consecutive time in Bengal, had to field 72 questions posed at him by senior officers of the CID about his actions on the day of the incident.

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Four young men were killed in CISF firing at Sitalkuchi during the fourth phase of Assembly elections in Bengal.

“He was asked to explain his actions on the date of the incident. Questions like whether he went to the spot and why if he did not. Why did he brief the media in favour of the central forces even without visiting the spot or getting any report from ground zero,” said an officer of the CID.

Dhar, who was posted as the SP by the Election Commission after the model code of conduct came into effect following the declaration of the poll, had told the media within a few hours of the incident that the CISF personnel, who were posted at the election booth, were under attack by 300-350 villagers armed with hand-made dangerous weapons and there were attempts at snatching away the arms and ammunition from the CISF personnel, which prompted them to open fire.

Dhar on Friday was asked for a list of people he had spoken to and taken instructions from on the day of the incident. An officer said many of his answers did not match with those of the witnesses who had earlier been examined in this case.

Dhar apparently fumbled and failed to answer several questions for which he had been re-summoned on June 22, CID sources said.

Till now, the CID has summoned six CISF personnel, none of whom have made their appearance before the investigating agency. Sources said the CID may also summon senior Bengal police officers who were at the helm of affairs during the poll period.

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