CM Banerjee alleges conspiracy in attack on TMC minister, BJP seeks CBI probe
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the bomb attack on state minister Jakir Hossain was part of a “conspiracy”, accusing some people of putting “pressure” on him to switch over to another party ahead of the upcoming assembly elections.
“It was a planned attack on minister Jakir Hossain. It is a conspiracy. Some people were pressuring Jakir Hossain to join them for the last few months. I don’t want to disclose anything more as investigation is on,” Banerjee told reporters after visiting the SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, where the 50-year-old is undergoing treatment.
Though she did not elaborate, the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of carrying out the attack immediately after the incident in Murshidabad district on Wednesday. The BJP said that the incident could be a result of infighting in the TMC.
Addressing a rally in South 24-Parganas on Thursday, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar backed a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Hossain, the minister of state for labour and the TMC MLA of Jangipur, was wounded in a bomb blast around 9:45pm on Wednesday when he was at Nimtita railway station to board a train to Kolkata. At least 26 others were injured in the incident. Of them, 15 were shifted to Kolkata for treatment. Banerjee has handed over the probe to three state-run agencies -- the Crime Investigation Department (CID), Special Task Force and Counter Insurgency Force.
On Thursday, she announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh each for those seriously injured and ₹one lakh each for people who received minor injuries.
“How can the railways deny their responsibility over security lapses when the attack happened at a railway station?” she asked. “Those who were with him (Hossain) have claimed that the blast was remotely controlled. Police are investigating so nothing concrete can be said as of now.”
Dhankhar, who visited Hossain at the hospital, said such incidents “are a shame on our society”. “I am sure the possibility of an investigation by National Investigating Agency (NIA) that has the requisite expertise to go into the matter will be involved by process of law,” Dhankar, who met the CM later in the day, told reporters.
Officials probing the explosion said they found parts of a battery and a piece of wire from the spot. They said the explosives were kept in a bag on the platform and it was a matter of investigation if the bomb was triggered remotely. Referring to a video of the incident, officials said some of the people accompanying the minister had alerted about the bag.
“Samples have been collected from the spot for forensic analysis. While a battery was found on the railway tracks, a piece of wire was found at a distance on the platform,” said an official who did not want to be named.
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