It's a big blow for the CPI(M) just before the assembly elections. Bolpur court has awarded rigorous life imprisonment to six CPI(M) supporters. Fourteen others have been given five years' rigorous imprisonment. The verdict came in a case involving a five-year-old clash that left three persons dead and six injured.
Court records revealed that on the evening of March 14, 2006, Nemai Banerjee (47), Chinta Das (27) and Shristidhar Das Bairagya (44) died in a clash at Dashkalgram village in Nanoor.
Local sources said the clash took place between CPI(M) and Forward Bloc (FB) supporters, as a result of an old rivalry between FB-turned-CPI(M) leader Biswajit Singh alias Kouppur Singh and his brother and FB district secretariat member Rana Singh.
That evening when Nemai Banerjee, block committee secretary of Forward Block's farmers' wing, Agrogami Krishak Sabha, and his elder brother were passing the Avoya Mandir area of the village, they were allegedly fired on by Biswajit Singh allies Kouppur Singh and his companions. Biswajit Singh was the then saha sabhapati of Nanoor panchayat samiti.
Villagers informed that decades ago, the two brothers - Kouppur and Rana - had become a terror for the local people and CPI(M). But from early 2002, a distance between the two brothers was seen, possibly as a result of a family problem. In 2005, Kouppur was removed from the party for some anti-party activities. In July 2005, Kouppur joined the CPI(M).
Villager Subrata Sarkar said, "A day before the incident, many people gathered in the house of Kouppur Singh. They were celebrating Holi with wine and meat. Suddenly, around 7 in the evening, Kouppur and his companions started to fire after a heated exchange with some people of Rana Singh's camp."
"The attacks were planned," another villager said.
However, next morning, Uday Banerjee, elder brother of Nemai, lodged a complaint at Nanoor police station against 57 persons. The police filed a charge-sheet against 22 accused persons. Among them, Buddhadeb Ghosh died during trail and another is absconding from the very first day. The other 20 underwent the trail and all are CPI(M) supporters.
On Wednesday, additional district session judge of Bolpur court justice Asish Deb pronounced all 20 guilty. "Justice Deb awarded rigorous life imprisonment to six persons, including the prime accused, in the case Biswajit Singh. The remaining 14 accused persons have been awarded 5 years' rigorous imprisonment," said Biswanath Sarkar, lawyer for the complainant.
Other than Biswajit, Mangal Mondal, Sanatan Ghosh, Sanatan Mondal, Buddhadeb Mondal allies Kalo Mondal and Giridhari Mondal have got life imprisonment.
Court records said that the accused persons were found guilty under Sections 302, 307, 324, 148 of IPC, section 25 and 27 of arms Act.