KOLKATA: In a landmark decision that is likely to have deep implications on the Gorkhaland statehood agitation, a Kolkata court on Thursday discharged Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung in the Madan Tamang murder case.
However, City Sessions Court chief judge Kundan Kumar Kumai directed the CBI to frame charges against the remaining 47 accused, including Gurung’s wife Asha Gurung, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri and other top GJM leaders, by August 28.
The judgment quashed CBI’s contention that Bimal Gurung was involved in a conspiracy to kill his political rival and Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang. The defence counsel argued that Gurung was present in Kalimpong, 50 km from Darjeeling town, when the murder took place on May 21, 2010, and that the CBI had no evidence to prove Gurung’s involvement in the murder.
The CBI had filed a case of criminal conspiracy and murder, claiming that it was a pre-planned murder aimed at breaking the back of opposition parties in the hills. All the accused had filed discharge petitions before the court and their pleas were heard. The central investigating agency had opposed the discharged petitions and prayed for framing of charges against the accused.
The Supreme Court in 2013 transferred the case from Darjeeling to Kolkata after Madan Tamang’s widow Bharti pled that the witnesses may be impacted if the case is not shifted out of Darjeeling.
The relief to Bimal Gurung might have an impact on the Gorkhaland agitation led by the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee, a joint platform of 29 hill parties. However, no statements have been issued by any political party regarding the judgment.