CBI arrests 4 from Mumbai in Birbhum massacre case by tracking mobile phones
The killings were carried out in retaliation to the murder of Bhadu Sheikh, a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) panchayat leader, earlier that evening. Several houses were set on fire leading to the death of eight people. A ninth person died in hospital days later.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday arrested four men from Mumbai in connection with the March 21 massacre that claimed nine lives at Bogtui village in Bengal’s Birbhum district.
These are the first arrests made by the CBI since March 25 when it was asked by the Calcutta high court to investigate the case.
The suspects were nabbed after the probe agency tracked their phones which were found to be in use around the site of the massacre on the night of March 21, a CBI official in Kolkata said on condition of anonymity.
The killings were carried out in retaliation to the murder of Bhadu Sheikh, a local Trinamool Congress (TMC) panchayat leader, earlier that evening. Several houses were set on fire leading to the death of eight people. A ninth person died in hospital days later. Six of the victims were women and two were suspected to be children. Their identities have not been officially revealed till now.
“Two of the arrested men, Bappa Sheikh and Sabu Sheikh, were named by those who were held earlier by the special investigation team (SIT) of the state police. The four left for Mumbai on March 22,” the CBI officer added.
The suspects are being brought to Kolkata. They are likely to be produced before a Birbhum court on Friday.
Before being taken off the case, the SIT arrested more than 20 men, including Anarul Hossain, the Rampurhat community block unit president of the TMC.
On Thursday, the CBI submitted its preliminary report in a sealed envelope before the Calcutta high court division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj. The report mentioned the use of modern technology in the investigation, officials said.
During the hearing, Priyanka Tibrewal, one of the five petitioners who had demanded a CBI probe into the massacre, said the agency should also probe Bhadu Sheikh’s murder since the two incidents were closely connected.
Responding to this, additional solicitor general Y J Dastoor said the agency may take up the murder probe if the court passes an order although there is a possibility that vital evidence may have been tampered by now.
The state’s counsels opposed the demand for a CBI probe into Bhadu Sheikh’s murder saying it was already being done by the state police.
The bench reserved its order.