The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested two of the six CPM activists accused in Netai killings on Monday, two days after announcing cash awards for information leading to arrest of the “harmads” — a corruption of ‘armada’ and loosely used in Bengali to describe armed goons.
A reward of R50,000 was declared for information on Abani Singh, 61, a Lalgarh local committee member of the party, and Aswini Chalak, 27, who were held here.
Raj Kanojia, additional director general, CID, said: “A team of CID and district police officials arrested them from Midnapore town. We are interrogating them to extract information about the other four.”
On the morning of January 7, CPM harmads — a term also used by union home minister P Chidambaram — opened fire on unarmed villagers killing nine, four of whom were housewives.
Sources said Singh was the key man as he was in charge of the harmad camp in Netai, four km off Lalgarh.
The Trinamool Congress, however, dubbed the arrests a sham. “The party has actually asked its members to surrender as it does not want Calcutta high court to hand over the case to CBI,” said Trinamool Congress MP Suvendu Adhikari, who is in charge of the party in the Maoist-dominated belt.
The other accused have been named as Joydeb Giri, Lalgarh local committee secretary and local CPM leaders Tapan Dey, Fullora Mondal and Rathin Dandapat, the owner of the house in Netai that served as the harmad camp from where the bullets were fired.
The CPM has maintained that the Trinamool Congress and Maoists are to blame for the Netai carnage.