KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of 23 Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leaders, including its chief Bimal Gurung, against whom warrants had been issued by a city court after they were chargesheeted by the CBI in the Madan Tamang murder case.It also directed the CBI to file its affidavit by June 30.
The Division Bench of Justice Ashim Kumar Roy rebuked the CBI for not submitting the case diary before the court and asked its counsel whether the agency had attempted to arrest the GJM leaders earlier. Also, the court sought to know whether the probe agency had submitted its report before the Supreme Court.
Besides, the judge enquired what all steps had been taken by the CBI as part of its investigation and whether there was hard evidence against the accused since their names did not figure in the first chargesheet. Earlier, after the Sessions Court here had on June 6 ordered the CBI to arrest all the accused in the murder case by June 26, the GJM moved the High Court for bail on June 8.
The CBI in its final supplementary chargesheet before the city sessions court had named 23 top GJM leaders in the May 2010 murder of the All India Gorkha League president. Tamang, who had threatened to expose the corrupt GJM leaders, was hacked to death in broad daylight during a public meeting of the party at Club Side Road in Darjeeling. While the CID was probing the murder, the victim’s wife, Bharati Tamang, moved the High Court which ordered a CBI probe into the matter and the Supreme Court too asked the Central agency to submit a report.
The CID, which initially probed the case, had not named any GJM leader. When the CBI took over the investigation, the agency charged the group’s president and chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Bimal Gurung, his wife and GJM women’s wing chief Asha Gurung, GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, assistant general secretary Binay Tamang, its legislator and media chief Harkabahadur Chhetri, deputy chief of GTA Ramesh Alleh, and deputy chief of GJM Pradip Pradhan for the murder. Meanwhile, Gorkha League workers had prevailed upon Bharti to call off her indefinite hunger strike demanding the arrest of the accused as four days of fasting had taken a heavy toll on her health.