Life term for CPI(M) leader in Tapasi murder case

November 13, 2008: The Hindu

Kolkata: A senior local leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a supporter of the party were sentenced on Wednesday by a court in Chandanagore to life imprisonment for the murder of Tapasi Malik at Singur in West Bengal’s Hooghly district in December 2006.

The two — Suhrid Dutta, former secretary of the CPI(M) zonal committee in the Singur area and Debu Malik — had been convicted by the court in Chandanagore on Tuesday under various sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to murder, criminal conspiracy and removal of evidence.

The court also fined them Rs. 10,000 each.

The recovery of the charred body of Tapasi Malik from within the site area of the since relocated Tata Motors’ Nano project had caused a stir in political circles with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee claiming that she was an active supporter of the party’s movement against acquisition of land for the project.

Addressing a rally in Burdwan, Ms. Banerjee described the sentence of the two men as “a moral victory¶ for her party that had been demanding justice to the killers of Tapasi Malik who was an organiser in its movement at Singur.

The state committee of the CPI(M) said the sentence against Mr. Dutta could not be accepted and that an appeal against its ruling would be made before a higher court.

In a statement here, it said that a ‘conspiracy’ had been hatched against Mr. Dutta and the CPI(M). Enemies of the party as well as the Left Front government were using the court’s ruling in spreading a hate campaign, it added.

Lawyers of the two convicted men described the sentence “as a miscarriage of justice in trial court.¶

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr.PC were imposed in the area surrounding the court when it sat to announce the sentence. Elaborate security arrangements had been made to ensure there was no breach of law and order in view of the politically sensitive nature of the case.

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