Why CBI not quizzing Buddhadeb on Nandigram firing: Bengal minister

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 01, 2013 20:02 hrs

Kolkata: The West Bengal government has written to the central government asking why former chief minister Buddhdeb Bhattacharjee was not being quizzed by the CBI for his alleged role in the police firing in Nandigram in 2007.

The letter, signed by state Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee, was sent to the union home ministry in December, said a state minister.

Fourteen people died in Nandigram of East Midnapore district March 14, 2007, after police opened fire on protesters carrying out a sustained and violent movement against the then Left Front government's bid to set up a chemical hub by acquiring large tracts of land.

Bhatacharjee also held the home portfolio then.

The minister, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said such a big decision could not have been taken without Bhattacharjee's knowledge.

"Prior to the day police opened fire, a large number of people were carrying on protests in the area. There were a larger number of police personnel also. As home minister, didn't Buddhababu know that so many people had gathered there?"

"Also, police had not fired in self-defence. So why shouldn't he be interrogated?" he asked.

Opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders refused to comment on the issue. Bhattacharjee is a politburo member of the CPI-M.

A day after the firing, the Calcutta High Court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into the circumstances that led to the firing.

The agency has completed the investigation, finding 12 officers -- six policemen and six administrative personnel -- involved in the firing.

Among the 12, two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and an inspector were held "directly" responsible for the firing, and the CBI was now awaiting permission from the state government to prosecute them.

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