2 CPM men convicted in murder case | india | Hindustan Times
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2 CPM men convicted in murder case

Almost two years after the charred body of Tapasi Malik (17) was found at the Nano project site in Singur, two CPI-M leaders were on Tuesday convicted of her murder. Snigdhendu Bhattacharya reports.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2008 01:01 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

Almost two years after the charred body of Tapasi Malik (17) was found at the Nano project site in Singur, two CPI-M leaders were on Tuesday convicted of her murder.

In a packed court room, Singur CPM Zonal Committee secretary Suhrid Datta was found guilty of conspiring the murder while local party leader Debu Malik was convicted of murder. Both were also found guilty of tampering with evidence.

The case of Tapasi, who was agitating against the land acquisition and was reportedly raped too, was one of the prime issues in the last rural polls, where the CPM was almost ousted from Singur bloc in Hooghly district. Now, at a time when the party is trying hard to get its hold on the area back, banking on pro-industry sentiments since the Tatas left, this verdict is another mighty blow. What’s worse is that so far, the CPM had backed Dutta and even re-elected him as zonal secretary while he was behind bars.

Tapasi’s half-burnt body was found in the Nano premises on December 18, 2006, when fencing work was on. The government immediately ordered a CID probe but later, under pressure from the Opposition, ordered a CBI probe. Some CPM leaders, including Debu Malik, initially tried to brush off the incident as a case of suicide. In fact, it was his statement to the media that Tapasi had committed suicide that brought Malik to the notice of the CBI.

After the verdict , Datta said: “I’ve nothing to say”. His advocate said: “This is a gross miscarriage of justice. We will move a higher court after pronouncement of punishment.” Malik’s advocate too said he would challenge the lower court’s judgment.

Manoranjan Malik, Tapasi’s father, watched the drama unfold on TV at his home in Bajemelia. “The court has given us much awaited solace. Our daughter is gone but at least the murderers are convicted. The CPM needs another lesson,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a strong security blanket was thrown around the court as thousands of CPM and Trinamool supporters gathered to hear the verdict.