Senior officials quizzed on Nandigram firing


Kolkata : Officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have questioned the district magistrate of West Bengal’s East Midnapore and a former superintendent of police in connection with the March 14 police firing in Nandigram that left 14 people dead.

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“District Magistrate Anup Agarwal and the superintendent of police G.A. Srinivas were questioned at our Nizam Palace office in Kolkata Thursday. We don’t want to divulge anything more right now,” CBI Joint Director Arun Kumar told reporters Friday.

Nearly a dozen senior Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders from Nandigram were also interrogated.

The sabhapati (village head) of Khejuri block I, Himangshu Das, and the zonal committee secretary of Khejuri block II, Bijon Roy, were among those questioned.

CBI officials said the move followed complaints from Nandigram villagers and a scrutiny of video clips showing the leaders present at Bhangabera and Adhikarypara in the same district on the day of the firing.

The Trinamul Congress-led anti-land acquisition group Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) had told CBI officials that Das and Roy had brought “outsiders” into Nandigram Mar 14.

Nandigram, about 150 km from Kolkata in East Midnapore district, flared up in January last year over proposed acquisition of land for a special economic zone (SEZ), including a chemical hub in collaboration with Indonesia’s Salim group – a plan that was later scrapped by the state government in the face of stiff resistance.

Thirty-five people have died in the violence in Nandigram since January 2007, with a fresh bout of violence being unleashed in November after CPI-M cadres allegedly recaptured their lost bases in the area by launching a massive onslaught on the rival BUPC.