CBI questions Mamata’s election agent in Nandigram in post-poll violence probe
Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sheikh Sufiyan, who was chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s election agent in the Nandigram assembly election in East Midnapore in April, was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for more than four hours on Thursday in connection with post-poll violence in the district.
Sufiyan was summoned to a central government guest house in Haldia town where a CBI team is camping. He was accompanied by a lawyer.
On September 3, the CBI recorded the statement of the family of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Debabrata Maity at Nandigram. Maity was attacked, allegedly by TMC workers on May 3, a day after the Bengal poll results were announced. He died at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on May 13. The CBI lodged a case in this connection on August 31.
Though the CBI has questioned many TMC district leaders during the probe ordered by the Calcutta high court on August 19, this is the first time a leader known to be close to the chief minister was summoned.
No CBI officer commented on the development.
Sufiyan told HT that he was unnecessarily harassed. “I was not involved in any violence. Leader of the opposition Suvendu Adhikari made the CBI question me. He is pulling the strings. We are the soldiers of Mamata Banerjee. We are not scared easily,” he said.
Adhikari resigned from the TMC government, where he was a cabinet minister, and joined the BJP in December last year. He defeated the chief minister by around 1,500 votes in Nandigram, the seat he bagged in 2016.
Banerjee is now contesting the September 30 bypoll from Bhawanipore, her old seat.
The Bengal government moved the Supreme Court on September 13, challenging the CBI probe into post-poll violence.
The CBI has registered more than 40 cases so far and filed charge sheet in at least three.
It has formed several teams, each comprising deputy inspector generals and superintendents from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka and other states. Each team is headed by a joint director.
The teams are accompanied by forensic experts and Central Industrial Security Force personnel who are providing security to the officers.