One held for murder of BJP MLA, Mamata Banerjee writes to President Kovind
The investigation into the death of Debendranath Roy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker from Hemtabad in Bengal’s North Dinajpur district, took a new turn on Wednesday afternoon when the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the state police charged Niloy Singh, an acquaintance of Roy, with murder. Singh was picked up from Malda district on Tuesday and interrogated for hours.
The development came hours after chief minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, saying the BJP was “distorting facts” about the death. Roy won the reserved Hemtabad seat on a Communist Party of India (Marxist) ticket in 2016 and joined the BJP in 2019. Banerjee’s letter said it was a case of suspected suicide and had links with monetary transactions.
Interestingly, the police found the names, phone numbers and photographs of Singh and Mahmood Ali, another acquaintance of Roy, in an apparent suicide note in the dead legislator’s pocket. The body was found hanging outside a roadside shop in Hemtabad on Monday morning. His left hand was tied with a rope.
The handwritten note, which was leaked to the media, along with the post mortem report, held Singh and Ali responsible for Roy’s death. The criminal investigation department (CID) is hunting for Ali.
Echoing BJP’s state and central leaders, Roy’s wife claimed that he had been murdered. She also said that Roy wanted to get into the rice trade and had given money to Singh and Ali.
Singh was charged under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (crime caused by multiple people with a common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, said Pintu Ghosh, assistant public prosecutor at Raigunj court in North Dinajpur. He said the chief judicial magistrate ordered 10-day police remand for Singh although the CID sought a two-week remand.
The BJP leadership said the development exposes the sorry state of governance in West Bengal
“By pressing charges under Sections 302 against Singh the government has admitted that Roy was murdered while the chief minister claimed that he committed suicide. More people are involved. Otherwise the CID would not have brought charges under Section 34,” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.
“This is a political murder and needs to be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CID is influenced by the ruling party,” Sinha added.
The 63-yer-old legislator’s body was found hanging on Monday morning about two kilometers away from his home. He left home around 1 am in the night with an unidentified person, his wife said. Demanding a CBI probe, BJP central leaders met Kovind on Tuesday. The party’s state leaders led agitations across Bengal for three days.
Banerjee’s letter was handed to the President by Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien. He also talked to the President for 25 minutes.
“I told the President that probe by a local cooperative bank in Raigunj has revealed that Rs 4.97 crore was deposited in the bank but documents relating to Rs 2.60 crore is not available. Roy was the secretary of the bank,” O’Brien told reporters in Delhi.
“I am constrained to invite your kind and personal attention to a particular fact. This is in context of your meeting with a delegation of BJP who might have apprised you with some distorted facts” said the letter’s opening lines.
“On receipt of post mortem report and on primary investigation West Bengal police has reported that it is a cause of suspected suicide and could be related to some local money transfer activities. The note found in a pocket of the deceased also names two persons who are allegedly found to be related to such money transfer activities in the locality,” Banerjee wrote to Kovind.
“Therefore, I am sorry to say that it does not appear to be a political case as being projected by BJP,” she wrote.
“Our government has taken all necessary actions immediately for comprehensive investigation. I have already handed over the case to CID for proper investigation. I would like to assure that West Bengal is a state where we always respect all political parties, their leaders and workers,” said the letter.
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