Darjeeling: Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) leader Nicol Tamang - the prime accused in the Madan Tamang murder case - remained untraced on Monday a day after escaping from police custody even as a preliminary probe report admitted security lapses on the part of the team interrogating him.
Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Devendra Pratap Singh said: 'We are yet to trace Nicol. All efforts are being made to re-arrest him'.
'All police stations in Darjeeling and its adjoining districts have been alerted and his pictures were also circulated apart from keeping a close vigil along the Nepal border.'
Tamang, a GJM central committee member and a close aide of party chief Bimal Gurung, was arrested Aug 15 for his alleged involvement in the May 21 murder of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League chief Madan Tamang.
He was subsequently remanded to 12 days' Criminal Investigation Department (CID) custody by the Darjeeling chief judicial magistrate's court.
Tamang was taken to Pintail Village - a guest house near here - for interrogation by the CID officials Friday from where he escaped Sunday morning hoodwinking the security personnel.
Singh said: 'Already a case has been filed against Nicol Tamang at the Pradhan Nagar police station in Darjeeling town.'
CID sources said special superintendent of CID N. Parvez, who is probing the incident, has submitted a preliminary report that conceded that security lapse on the part of the sleuths quizzing the GJM leader led to his escape.
Meanwhile the GJM leaders and supporters who Sunday alleged that Tamang has been murdered by the police on the instructions of the state government, staged demonstration at several places in the three sub-divisions - Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong - of the Darjeeling hills.
The GJM supporters demanded Tamang be presented immediately, otherwise, the indefinite shutdown would continue.
The GJM-sponsored indefinite shutdown from Saturday afternoon has inconvenienced tourists, particularly foreigners.
'A good number of foreigners have got stranded in the hill and we are trying to get them down. We are also discussing the problem with the GJM leaders,' said a senior administrative officer.
ABGL general secretary Lakshman Pradhan also demanded that Tamang be rearrested immediately. The ABGL has blamed a joint conspiracy of the West Bengal government and the GJM for his ecape.
The ABGL would launch an intense agitation from Tuesday if the authorities fail to catch the fugitive.
However, a section of police officers claimed that after fleeing CID custody, Tamang disappeared into Udham Singh Nagar, a GJM stronghold.
'The area is totally dominated by the GJM and it was easy for him to flee elsewhere hiding in a vehicle from there,' said a senior police officer.
Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Ranveer Kumar said: 'We are not leaving any stone unturned to re-catch Tamang. All vehicles are being checked thoroughly and in several cases suspects are also facing interrogation.'