GJM leaders’ arrest in Tamang murder case put on hold

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday ordered the CBI not to execute arrest warrants issued against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders in a murder case till the disposal of their pleas for anticipatory bail.

A city court on June 6 issued the arrest warrants after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its charge sheet indicted 23 GJM leaders, including chief Bimal Gurung, for the murder of All India Gorkha League (AIGL) president Madan Tamang, who was stabbed to death in Darjeeling on May 21, 2010.

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Gurung and several of the GJM leaders approached the Calcutta High Court, seeking anticipatory bail.

Hearing their plea, the bench of Justice Ashim Kumar Roy and Justice Malay Marut Banerjee directed the CBI not to execute the warrants till the disposal of their bail petition.

The court also directed the central probe agency to file an affidavit within two weeks after which the matter will come up for hearing again.

Besides Gurung – the chief of the autonomous hill council Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) – the others facing arrest include his wife Asha, party legislator from Kalimpong Harkabahadur Chettri, assistant general secretary Benoy Tamang, GTA chairman Pradeep Pradhan and deputy chief executive Ramesh Allay, among others.

Initially probed by the state police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the matter was handed over to the CBI after prime accused Nicole Tamang disappeared from the CID’s custody in August 2010.

The development comes in the wake of Tamang’s widow Bharati Tamang launching a hunger strike for indefinite period, pressing for the arrest of the accused.