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Tribal leader Chhattradhar Mahato’s police custody extended

Posted by Admin on October 2, 2009

Chhatradhar Mahato

Chhatradhar Mahato

Mahato remanded in police custody

;Statesman News Service

MIDNAPORE/KOLKATA, 1 OCT: Police Santras Birodhi Public Committee (PSBPC) leader, Chhatradhar Mahato, was remanded in police custody for seven days by the Jhargram additional chief judicial magistrate, Md Rezza, today.
Mahato, along with three other PSBPC activists (Sambhu Soren, Ranjit Murmu and Sukhen Murmu) was produced in court in connection with the Lalgarh police station case number ~ 161-09, dated 26 September, 2009.

They were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Mahato was earlier remanded in police custody for five days after being produced in court on 27 September.

After producing the accused before the court, it was submitted that the four were also wanted in nine other cases. A prayer for showing them arrested in the other cases was submitted to the magistrate, which was granted. The magistrate granted them bail in seven cases and rejected their bail pleas in the remaining two cases, for allegedly waging a war against the state, rioting and kidnapping a CPI-M activist and looting some CPI-M leaders’ houses.

Mr Ashok Bakshi, who appeared for the state, sought 25 day police remand for the four accused in order to conduct further investigations. Opposing the petition, the defence council, Mr Koushik Sinha, argued that since the police was given sufficient time earlier for investigation, further police remand was unjustified. Hearing both parties, the magistrate passed an order granting seven days police remand to the accused. Mr Sinha also submitted that PSBPC is not a terrorist organisation and therefore UAPA act is not applicable.

Though the district police have initially framed charges under the UAPA against Chhatradhar Mahato, the state government would take the final decision on framing charges under the Act after verifying all related documents collected against Mahato, state home secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen, said today at Writers’ Buildings. The state government is yet to give its nod in this regard, Mr Sen said.

This is considered to be significant as the home secretary himself said a couple of days ago that Mahato was arrested only after his links with the Maoists were confirmed.
Sukh Shanti Baske a treasurer of the PSBPC who was arrested yesterday was not produced in the court today.

Meanwhile, another CPI-M activist fell to Maoist bullets in the Junglemahal today. Arun Pratihar (35) a resident of Kantapahari in Lalgarh was shot dead by goons. In Purulia, police today arrested a suspected Maoist activist, Elias alias Dada, from Arsa this morning. He was remanded in police custody for seven days after being produced before the chief judicial magistrate’s court.

Meanwhile, after the state government ordered a probe into the SMS threat to Mr Ardhendu’s life in the wake of the arrest of Chhatradhar Mahato, police said they have traced the alleged sender.

Shyamal Banerjee, a Congress party worker residing in Baranagar area, is alleged to have sent the SMS to local Congress leader Mr Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, who forwarded it to Trinamul chief Miss Mamata Banerjee, as per primary police investigation. Mr Banerjee has not been arrested. “Prima facie, it seems that he did it for fun and had no ulterior motives. However, we are interrogating him,” a police officer said. On the other hand, security has been beefed up at Mr Sen’s residence. The Stateman

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