Bengal ex-minister faces fresh case after skeleton find


Kolkata : West Bengal Police Sunday slapped another case against former Marxist minister Sushanta Ghosh, arrested for his alleged role in the killing of seven Trinamool Congress activists, after finding two wireless sets at his residence in West Midnapore district.

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The condition of Ghosh, admitted to the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit of a state-run hospital Saturday midnight for high blood pressure, was normal though he was under observation, a hospital official said.

“During the search conducted at his residence in Chandrakona Road (in West Midnapore district), we found two wireless sets. Possession of such sets without licence is a legal violation. So, we have lodged a Telegraph Act violation case at Chandrakona police station,” said K. Jayaraman, deputy inspector general, criminal investigation department (CID), of the state police.

He said the frequencies of the wireless sets are also being checked.

“They are not police wireless sets. The family members have told us that they did not use them. Ghosh’s wife (Karuna Banerjee) could not throw much light on this. We have to ask Ghosh. But it is not possible now as he is in hospital,” Jayaraman said.

The police have lodged a separate case at Garbeta police station under the Arms Act against Ghosh’s brother Prashanta after discovery of 16 rounds of ammunition from their ancestral residence in Benachapra village of West Midnapore.

“The case was filed against Prashanta as the family members told us that he stayed in the room from where the ammunition was found. We also found ammunition charger clips, an eight GB spy pen and two mobile phones. The phones will be tested for information,” he said.

The officer said that Sushanta Ghosh, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader who was a minister in the state’s Left Front government for two decades and is now a lawmaker from Garbeta, was taken to the SSKM Hospital late Saturday night after he complained of high blood pressure.

“The doctors told us that ECG test has to be done. They have told us he needs to be under continuous observation,” said Jyaraman.

The CID, which is probing the case, would give a letter to the hospital authorities seeking to know whether Ghosh’s health condition permitted interrogation.

A spokesman of the hospital said Ghosh has undergone a series of cardiac and blood tests. “His parameters are normal. The blood pressure is slightly on the high side. But considering his age, that is more or less normal,” he said.

Ghosh was sent to seven-day CID remand Thursday after his anticipatory bail was cancelled by the chief judicial magistrate’s court of West Midnapore.

It is alleged that on Sep 22, 2002, Ajay Acharya and some other members of the Trinamool Congress were attacked by 40 armed people allegedly belonging to the CPI-M.

Ghosh was one of the 40 people named in the first information report (FIR) filed after the incident nine years back.

Seven of the Trinamool Congress members were brutally killed, the FIR said.

The victims, including Ajay Acharya, were untraceable since then. But June 4 this year, the skeletons were recovered from near a pond in Mallickdanga area, near Ghosh’s Benechapra house, and led to the arrest of two of his aides.

Ghosh himself took anticipatory bail after a villager, Shyamal Acharya, filed a police complaint that one of the skeletons was of his father Ajay Acharya. DNA tests conducted by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory here have confirmed the identity of Acharya and that of another missing Trinamool worker, Swapan Singha alias Raju Singha.

Following Ghosh’s arrest, the CID Saturday conducted simultaneous searches at his houses in Chandrakona Road and Benachapra in West Midnapore and Minto Park in the city.

The police have claimed that Ghosh’s interrogation has yielded information about other politicians’ role in the alleged killings.