Kolkata: The driver of a private bus was today arrested for rash driving in connection with the death of the leader of CPI-M's student wing here.
According to the police, 22-year-old Sudipta Gupta had sustained injuries after he fell from the bus ferrying SFI supporters, who were arrested during a protest against postponement of college elections in the state.
However, the CPI-M had alleged that Gupta succumbed to his injuries suffered in a lathicharge by the police during the protest.
Further investigation into the case is being conducted with the arrest of the bus driver, a senior police official said.
The police claimed that SFI supporters had turned violent and threw rotten tomatoes and eggs at the policemen deployed in their protest venue.
Meanwhile, an SFI leader told reporters today that inspite of an advance notice by the student body, there was no adequate police deployment at the venue of their protest where over 6,000 students, including women supporters, had assembled.
In protest against the incident, the SFI has called for a 12-hour 'bandh' in some area of south Kolkata tomorrow.
SFI leader's death 'unfortunate': Mamata
Under pressure from opposition after the death of an SFI leader, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today termed the episode as "unfortunate", but evaded a question on whether a judicial probe would be ordered as demanded by the CPI-M.
"Any death is unfortunate. This is also unfortunate. I will not say anything more than this," Banerjee told reporters here outside the state-run SSKM hospital where SFI leader Sudipta Gupta's body was kept.
She said this in response to a media query that whether the state government would order a judicial inquiry into the death as demanded by opposition CPI-M.
Banerjee said the SFI leader was killed after he collided against a post, and claimed many of her own party workers had died in this way.
The chief minister said she visited the hospital to express her sympathy and assured all help to the bereaved family.
SFI activists present at the hospital raised slogans against her during the visit.
Sudipta Gupta's father Pronob Kumar Gupta, however, refused to accept any help from the state government. "My son was beaten to death. Is it justice? I was a central government employee. I get pension. I cannot accept any money. It is against my principle. She is offering me money, but can she return my son?" he said.
Asked about Banerjee's statement that Sudipta died after he hit a post, Pronob Kumar reiterated that his son was beaten to death and he would fight for justice.
Sudipta's death has triggered a row with the police claiming it as an accident while CPI-M alleges that he succumbed to injuries sustained in police lathicharge.
In a separate development, the driver of the bus in which the SFI leader along with other supporters were being taken away after arrest by the police was arrested today.
CPI (M) student leader dies after clash with police; protests erupt
A leader of CPI(M) students' wing, who was arrested after a clash with police, died here today triggering a row with the men in uniform claiming he fell from a vehicle while the party alleged he succumbed to injuries sustained in the lathicharge by police.
Joint Commissioner of Police (headquaters) Javed Shamim told PTI that 22-year-old Sudipta Gupta died in a city hospital. "He received an injury in an accident when he, along with 30 others, was being taken in a bus after being arrested. There was no lathicharge by the police."
The incident happened when SFI supporters gathered in Rani Rasmoni area of the city in connection with a protest rally to demand holding of college union elections in the state.
Police said SFI supporters turned violent and threw rotten tomatoes and eggs at the police personnel deployed in the area. Police then arrested 331 SFI supporters and Gupta along with 30 other supporters were put into the bus from which he accidently fell and was injured.
He was immediately shifted to a government hospital where he died in the evening, the police said.
The hospital authorities said Gupta was admitted with head injury and was administered all medical help.
Asked whether he was lathicharged, the hospital spokesman said "we need to wait for the post morterm report."
Senior CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim alleged Gupta died in police custody and said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also the Home Minister of the state, needed to answer why the youth was "brutally killed".
The state Congress leadership also demanded an independent inquiry into the incident.
"The death was not natural - it was unnatural. So, an independent inquiry is a must to look into the incident in order to bring out the truth," state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharjee said.
Police said four police officials were injured seriously during the scuffle with the SFI supporters.