Santosh Subba alias Gorey son of Gorkha militant leader Chattrey Subbas was produced at the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Kalimpong on Monday in connection with the Kalimpong blast. He has been sentenced to 7 days of police remand.
On July 26, the Kalimpong motor stand in North Bengal was rocked by a low intensity blast at around 3am in the morning with a stove, allegedly planted below a North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus, having exploded.
The NBSTC guard on hearing the explosion saw fire gushing out from the parked bus, an Eicher and managed to doze the fire. Police rushed to the spot on hearing the news of the blast. Personnel from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) have visited the spot and started investigations.
Two days after the blast, office of a vernacular daily had received a phone call with the caller claiming to be N Thegim, Chief of Underground Liberation Association (ULA). The ULA claimed responsibility for the Kalimpong blast and dubbed it as a protest against the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA- a new administrative mechanism for Darjeeling) and pledged to continue with the struggle for Gorkhaland.
On Sunday the police picked up Santosh Subba, 35, from Reli Road in Kalimpong. Newspaper clips of the ULA claiming responsibility for the blast was recovered from his vehicle.
"We had source information. There were some people who had seen some people moving around the blast site in the wee hours of the morning (before the blast). Their description matched Santosh. We are also trying to trace the calls made to the newspaper offices. There are others on our radar too" said DP Singh, Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling. Subba has been charged under Explosive Substances Act and for Damage of Public Property.
Sources state that around 10 Sim cards have been recovered from Subba's possession registered in different names. One of the SIM cards is also registered in the name of a person from Midnapore. Police are trying to verify call records made from these SIM cards on July 28 (the day when ULA claimed responsibility for the blasts).
Raju Ghatraj a resident of Topkhana, Kalimpong was picked up by the police, on Monday, in connection with the blast and is being interrogated.
Subba had been arrested earlier in 2001 along with an AK 47 Rifle, 52 rounds of ammunition and for snatching a revolver from a CRPF jawan in Kalimpong. Intelligence agencies suspected that Kaji Vishwakarma, a gun runner, had supplied grenades and assault rifles through Santosh to the hijackers of Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814, which had been hijacked to Kandahar. He allegedly had links with underground outfits in Nagaland also.
Though this could not be established the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Kalimpong had then convicted Santosh for the possession of the illegal AK-47 and for snatching of the revolver from the CRPF jawan. He was later acquitted by the Additional Sessions Court. "I am innocent. I fail to understand why they have arrested me. My father will be released soon. This could be a political conspiracy" stated Subba to media personnel in the Kalimpong court premises.
Incidentally Santosh's father Chattrey Subba, a militant Gorkha leader was arrested in 2001 as the prime accused in the assassination bid on GNLF President Subash Ghising case. Ghising had been attacked at Saath Ghoomti near Kurseong on February 10, 2001.
Chattrey is still languishing in the Jalpaiguri correctional home and the trial is still not complete.
Chattrey had resigned from the Army Medical Corps in 1983 to join the Gorkhaland movement spearheaded by Subash Ghising and the GNLF. However he fell apart with Ghising in 1988 when Ghising decided to accept the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) "dropping" the Gorkhaland demand. Chattrey then had floated the Gorkha Liberation Organization (GLO) to continue the demand for Gorkhaland.
In 2002 Chattrey had issued an ultimatum to all DGHC Councilors to resign from their posts. Following this Chattrey was once again the the limelight with the Tinkatarey incident in Samsing under the Kalimpong sub division. A heavy exchange of firing had taken place between the police and the GLO in that incident.