Dreaded CPI (Maoist) squad leader Jagari Baske, produced by a triumphant government on Thursday as a prize catch, was indeed in police custody since January 2010, former director general of West Bengal police (DGP), Bhupinder Singh, has admitted to HT.
In fact, on January 26, 2010 – about a year and a half before the Left Front was swept out of power – HT had reported that Baske was picked up by the police, with none from the police or the bureaucrats denying it then.
“Jagari Baske was nabbed in January 2010. I was the DGP of West Bengal at that time. I cannot recollect the date when she was picked up, but I am sure it was January 2010,” Singh told Hindustan Times from his Chandigarh residence on Friday. Singh also said Manoj Verma, now posted as SP of counter insurgency force and then the SP of West Midnapore police, would vouch for it.
“Though she was shown surrendered on Thursday, she was neutralized much earlier. As far as I remember she was rounded up from an area near Lalgarh,” added Singh.
“… Another dreaded woman leader, Jagari Baske (25), was rounded up from Brindabanpore on Monday,” the January 26 HT report had stated.
However, Singh was not surprised at Baske being showcased on Thursday, as he argued it is an effective tool to fight the war at a psychological level.
On Thursday, Baske and her husband Rajaram Soren, in crisp and ironed jungle fatigue, and accompanied by their five-year old son Bahadur made a surprise visit to the chamber of Mamata Banerjee. In the afternoon the chief minister stood shoulder to shoulder with the duo and announced, “Both Jagari and her husband Rajaram surrendered to the inspector general of police (Intelligence Branch) this morning and were later brought to me.”
The chief minister also told the media that the government would do everything possible to rehabilitate them in the mainstream including setting up a home for them and getting their son admitted to a reputed boarding school such as Ramkrishna Mission.
“Manoj Verma, then superintendent of police in West Midnapore, knows in details when and from where Jagari was rounded up. As the DGP of the state police, I had been informed about the details but it happened one year 10 months ago,” said Singh.
“I should not comment on this matter,” said Verma on Friday.
Police used Baske as the bait to pick up Rajaram Soren and managed to convince the duo to lay down arms. In fact, the duo was reportedly having grave differences with the party leadership.
According to intelligence officials several rebel leaders are already in the safe custody of the police and may be exhibited as surrendering or being arrested in the near future. Among those detained by the security forces are Dwijen Hembram, CPI(Maoist) state committee member and two-three female squad members.