Digging up the past, the criminal investigation department (CID) has begun an inquiry into the mysterious disappearance of theatre artist Biman Bhattacharya, who went missing nearly 20 year ago.
Biman’s brother Bidhan Bhattacharya has been summonded to the CID headquarters at Bhawani Bhavan on Tuesday, ostensibly to record his statement. Officers at the investigating agency have asked Bhattacharya to bring with him all documents related to his brother’s disappearance.
“One Tuesday, I have an appointment with DIG (CID) Shankar Chakraborty, who asked me to be there at 5 pm,” Bhattacharya told HT on Monday. He also revealed that in June, a CID officer named Mohammad Rashid visited his Konnagar residence and recorded his initial statement. Rashid also spoke to his mother Amita Bhattacharya.
In 1992, soon after Biman’s disappearance on June 9, Bidhan filed a missing persons complaint with the Gariahat police station.
His mother Amita also wrote a letter to former chief minister Jyoti Basu on July 8, 1992, requesting him to trace her 28-year-old son. Former CPI(M) MLA from Uttarpara Santashree Chatterjee also wrote a letter to Basu’s confidential assistant Jaykrishna Ghosh, asking him to take the action necessary to track the missing thespian.
Ghosh, in a letter to Chatterjee, said that Amita Bhattacharya’s letter to the chief minister had been forwarded to CIG (CID) for investigation. Bidhan Bhattacharya and his mother wrote a series of letters to Basu, but no action was taken.
In a recent letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Bhattacharya once again pleaded for CID intervention in the case, and also held Deepa Dasmunshi, Raigunj MP and wife of Priyaranjan Das Munshi, accountable for Biman’s mysterious disappearance.
While Deepa Das Munshi told HT on September 26 that she has no problem with the investigation, the issue has the potential to snowball into a political controversy, especially since the Raiganj MP is one of the most vocal critics of Mamata Banerjee.
The case originated on June 9, 1992, when Biman disappeared from the office of his theatre group, at Beniatala. According to his brother, a CID probe was ordered at the time but, surprisingly, the investigations were never started. However, this time the chief minister’s office forwarded the complaint filed by Amita Bhattacharya to the CID.
The sleuths have accessed letters that were exchanged by Das Munshi and Bhattacharya who were colleagues in the same theatre group. The CID has already started recording the statements of Biman’s various colleagues, who worked with him in different theatre groups.
After completing the inquiry, the CID will seek permission from the chief minister to start a case. Sources within the CID said that the department has made progress in the matter and a few revelations are likely to come up during the inquiry.