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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Man found hanging, family blames BJP

Purnendu Chatterjee’s body was found in the morning about 3 km from his home, additional superintendent of district police Priyabrata Roy said. “A post-mortem exam is being conducted. Investigations are on,” he told reporters.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2019 23:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
KOLKATA/MIDNAPORE
(Picture for representation)
(Picture for representation)
         

The first unnatural death allegedly related to Bengal’s “cut money” controversy was reported on Wednesday after the body of a Trinamool Congress (TMC) worker was found hanging from a tree in East Burdwan district, but police refused to confirm any reason even as ruling party leaders pointed fingers at the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Purnendu Chatterjee’s body was found in the morning about 3 km from his home, additional superintendent of district police Priyabrata Roy said. “A post-mortem exam is being conducted. Investigations are on,” he told reporters.

According to Purnendu’s wife Rina, a few people had shown up at their house on Tuesday and demanded ₹30,000, which they alleged Purnendu had taken from them as “cut money”, or illegal commissions. “They turned me out of the house and locked it. My husband was not in the house. He did not take cut money. They put pressure on him unfairly,” she said.

She alleged, “My husband was murdered and BJP men were behind it.”

TMC leader Kanchan Kazi, who took out a protest rally in Burdwan town, about 100 km from Kolkata, echoed her. “We have told the police that BJP men are behind the crime,” he claimed. “We will start an agitation if the culprits are not identified after a fair probe.”

The BJP, however, denied any involvement. Sandip Nandi, the party’s East Burdwan district president, said, “The BJP is not involved. We don’t have a strong organisation in that area. A police investigation will prove it.”

The “cut money” controversy has been simmering since June 18 when chief minister Mamata Banerjee told municipal councillors at a meeting that TMC leaders who have taken illegal commissions from beneficiaries of government schemes must return the money.

Emboldened by the chief minister’s words, people have begun filing police complaints. A TMC panchayat samiti official of North Dinajpur district, Sunil Biswas, has been arrested on charges of embezzlement of government scheme funds .

“A person had lodged a complaint against Sunil Biswas. A Balurghat court has sent him to six days in police custody,” said Dhiman Mitra, the deputy superintendent of South Dinajpur police. Biswas is the second person to be arrested on allegations of taking “cut money”. On June 19, Sukesh Jadav, a former gram panchayat pradhan, was arrested for allegedly embezzling ₹1 crore of MGNREGA funds two years ago.

First Published: Jun 26, 2019 23:56 IST

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