CPM duo guilty in Tapasi murder casehttp://www.telegraphindia.com/1081112/j ... 098407.jsp
OUR CORRESPONDENTChandernagore, Nov. 11: CPM leader Suhrid Dutta and party activist Debu Malik were convicted in the Tapasi Malik murder case today.
The Trinamul Congress is viewing the verdict as a weapon to neutralise the fallout of the Tata pullout and has announced a string of protests in the run-up to a clutch of elections.
Bypolls are due in three Assembly seats at the end of the year and four civic elections are scheduled for November 30.The Chandernagore fast-track court found Suhrid and Debu guilty of murder, criminal conspiracy, tampering with evidence and providing false information to protect an offender. The court will deliver the sentence tomorrow.On December 18, 2006, the burnt body of 18-year-old Tapasi, a Save Farmland Committee campaigner, was found at the Tata Motors’s Nano plant site in Singur.
Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee today announced rallies in Singur and other parts of the state. “We welcome the verdict. We will observe Tapasi Malik divas in Singur on Saturday to commemorate her death and highlight the CPM’s misdeeds,” she said at her Kalighat home.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee should resign as chief minister, Mamata said. “Buddhababu should quit, accepting moral responsibility for what happened in Singur.”
CPM leaders Benoy Konar and Balai Sabui said Suhrid and Debu were likely to move a higher court.
The judgment has come at a time when the CPM was hoping to reclaim Singur from Trinamul, banking on the backlash against Mamata after the Tata pullout. The CPM lost Singur in the May panchayat elections. Before that, it lost the Assembly seat in 2006.
Santasree Chatterjee, the CPM MP from Serampore, said: “The Opposition will use the verdict to campaign against us. But we will tell the people that Suhrid is the victim of a conspiracy.”
The party has distanced itself from Debu but has stood by Suhrid. “He has been a dedicated leader. He is still a district committee member,” Santasree added.
As soon as news of the judgment reached Bajemelia, where the Maliks stay, villagers flocked to their house. Malina Malik, Tapasi’s mother, is ill, because of which husband Manoranjan couldn’t go to court today. “My daughter’s soul will rest in peace now,” Malina said.
Manoranjan Hambir, a 70-year-old unwilling land loser, said: “We waited two years for this verdict.”
In Calcutta, CBI lawyer Partha Tapaswi said Suhrid and Debu could get the death sentence. “We are satisfied with the judgment,” he added.
Arindam Bhattacharya, Suhrid’s lawyer, said he would take a decision about moving a higher court after hearing the sentence tomorrow. But Debu’s lawyer Kishore Mondal said: “My client will move the high court.”CPM workers get life term in Tapasi murder
12 Nov 2008, 1637 hrs IST, PTIhttp://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/CPM_ ... 704235.cms
CHANDANAGORE: In a major blow to CPM, party heavyweight from Singur Suhrid Dutta and supporter Debu Malik were on Wednesday sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Tapasi Malik
who had rallied farmers against land acquisition for Tata Motors's Nano project. ( Watch )
Additional Chief Sessions Judicial Magistrate Amar Kanti Acharya, who had convicted the two under sections 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of IPC on Tuesday, awarded the sentence in a packed court room.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them.
The verdict comes as a major embarrassment to the ruling party in West Bengal as its top leadership, including central committee member Benoy Konar, have been strongly defending Dutta, a former zonal secretary of CPM in Singur, as innocent.
The 72-page verdict was read out by the judge in the afternoon.
The judge, citing four verdicts, said that in such cases either life or death sentence was given, but he did not consider it among the "rarest of the rare cases" meriting death sentence.
Debu Mallik was given two life sentences for murder and conspiracy, while Dutta was sentenced to life for murder, conspiracy and for destroying evidence.
Dutta look shattered when the verdict was read out. When the judge asked them if they had anything to say, both said that they were innocent.
The counsels for the convicts said that they would appeal against the verdict.
There was strict security around the court with prohibitory orders imposed.
The charred body of 18-year-old Tapasi, an agriculture labourer's daughter, was recovered from a pit inside the fenced off area for the now abandoned small car project at Bajemelia in Singur on December 18, 2006.
This led to protests in Singur against land acquisition for the Nano project as Tapasi was an organiser of the Trinamool Congress led Save Farmland Committee.
She had also led a demonstration against Tata officials in Singur.
The case was initially handled by the CID, but in the wake of protests, West Bengal chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee handed it over to the CBI.
Debu was arrested on June 24, 2007 and taken to Delhi for a polygraph test. Dutta was arrested on June 28 on the basis of statements given to the CBI by Debu.
The CBI submitted the chargesheet based on Debu's confessional statement on September 15, 2007. Trial began on January 27, 2008 and continued till August this year. 65 witnesses were examined during the trial.