Somnath Chatterjee, the 85-year-old former CPI(M) leader and Lok Sabha speaker, is likely to be called in for questioning for his alleged role in the massacre of 16 monks and a nun of Ananda Marga in Kolkata in 1982.
Sources in the Justice Amitava Lala commission, formed to probe the massacre after the Trinamool government came to power in 2011, said two other Leftist veterans, Samir Putatunda, who left the CPM in 2001 and launched his own outfit, and Kanti Ganguly, CPM leader and minister in the last Left government, would be called.
On April 30, 1982, a mob comprising mainly CPM cadre and supporters had beaten up 17 members of the spiritual group before burning them alive.
Justice Lala told HT his probe focussed on these CPM leaders as they’d reportedly made provocative speeches, branding the monks child-lifters, at a party-organised convention on February 6, 1982.
Chatterjee said he didn’t remember attending such a convention, but Ganguly confirmed the former speaker’s presence, though he said the event was held on May 1 where the incident was condemned. Putatunda said the Margis were not above suspicion.
A major source of information for the commission was the deposition of Sher Singh, then additional district magistrate of 24 Parganas, who claimed he had come to know about the plan two months ahead and alerted his boss, district magistrate Ranu Ghosh on January 16. But no step was taken to stop the killings.