OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

The 12-hour bandh called by CPI(M) today against the arrest of its Hooghly district leader in the murder of an anti-displacement protestor began today, effecting work at the Tata Motors small car project here. CPM warhorses are circling the wagon and standing by Suhrid Dutta, unable to dump him because of his high-profile association with the Singur project mobilisation. It is comical who the bandh is aimed at as it was the CPI-M’s own government and chief minister that applied pressure on the CBI to expedite the case.

Earlier CPI-M patriarch, Jyoti Basu, on Friday endorsed his party’s line that a “political conspiracy” has been hatched to stop the Tata Motors’ small car project in Singur, and to malign the West Bengal government by trying to implicate a party official in the alleged murder of a girl. CPI-M’s Singur zonal committee secretary, Suhrid Dutta, was arrested Thursday night by the CBI in connection with Tapasi’s murder, days after party supporter, Debu Malik, was nabbed for the same case. Dutta played a key role in the acquisition of land and construction of the boundary wall for Tata’s project that will build the Rs 1 lakh car. Tapasi, daughter of a sharecropper, was in the forefront of the movement launched by the Trinamool Congress-led ‘Save Farmland Committee’ or Singur Krishi Jami Bachao Committee against the “forcible” acquisition of land in Singur. On December 18 last year, her charred body was found on the land acquired for the project. Tapasi was allegedly raped before being killed.

The most shameful remarks by Jyoti Basu were not about the conspiracy but his second guessing on the motive with no respect to the deceased 6 months after her murder

it cannot be explained otherwise how Tapasi’s body could be dumped in” Tata Motors small car project area.

Offstumped seeks to challenge Mr. Basu’s assertions of a political conspiracy in Singur while reminding him of the thin ice he and his party are in the light of the evidence of treason in the CIA archives. Offstumped had earlier shown how the CPI-M has arrogated to itself unprecedented leverage. This latest assertion by the CPI-M defies logic for the only entity other than the CPI-M that could exert pressure on the CBI is the Congress. So unless Jyoti Basu is accusing Manmohan Singh it is clear that the CPI-M is suffering  from deep denial here.

The Telegraph Calcutta provides the background details on the case. Debu Malik  CPM supporter, had switched sides from a rival faction to Suhrid’s during the Singur mobilisation. It is solely on Debu’s statements the CBI has built the Tapasi Malik murder case, against Suhrid, who claimed today that he was “framed”. According to Debu, Tapasi’s name first cropped up when he received a call from Suhrid saying he had a few things to discuss about her. This was just after Tapasi had delivered a firebrand speech at a meeting of the Save Farmland Committee in December 2006.

It is extremely ironical to see the reaction of the CPI-M and Jyoti Basu to the arrest of their lackey Suhrid Dutta. As reported earlier the body of Tapasi Malik was found on December 18th. Offstumped recounts the official reactions to the incident which goes to show how the CPI-M’s Doublethink operates when it comes to issues of its credibility and complicity.

Dec 18th BBC Reports

Police say they are investigating whether her death was a case of suicide given “a twist” by angry villagers upset with the government.

Now it is ironical why the police would even rake up the suicide angle when the body was found not at her not hanging from a tree nor drowned in a pond but lying on the land acquired for the Tata small car project. This is the beginning of the CPI-M doublethink. It is no secret the police force in West Bengal for decades now had been infiltrated by hardcore party sympathisers under Jyoti Basu’s leadership (see article in Time from 1970). This only goes to further confirm it.

Dec 19th Times of India Reports further details on the sequence of events in Singur.

Tapasi slept with her niece Aparna Dhara on Sunday night. Around 4:30 am, she told Aparna that she was going out to relieve herself. “This is usual for her. For, she woke up early, to cook for her father and brothers, who left for work early in the morning. But on Monday morning, she didn’t return even after 90 minutes,” Aparna said. By then, a few villagers from Khanserbheri coming to Bajemelia Paschimpara, noticed something burning, barely inside the fence.

Also the Times of India reports that the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee a probe by State CID while quoting a Rights Activist Kabita Srinivasan that “Tapasi feared that she might be raped and murdered. She told us,”.

Dec 19th also saw the Post Mortem Report with ghastly and shocking details

“The brutality is so stark that it points to vengeance and extreme hatred,” an official said. “She could have been killed at the spot where she was struck on the head — a few more blows would have done the job. Instead, the killers took the trouble of dragging her a 100 metres and then setting her on fire.”

By late night on December 19th the Economic Times reports that the Bengal government buckled under pressure from the Trinamul’s call for a 48 hour bandh with West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee assuring that state home secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy would soon urge the CBI to probe the death of the teenage girl.

This change of stance happened in less than 24 hrs of the Govt ordering a CID probe.

Almost a month later we have media reports of the CBI probe having started.

Jan 17 2007 The Press Trust of India, PTI, reports that

Teams from the CBI and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory today visited Bajemelia in Singur to probe the killing of anti-land acquisition activist Tapasi Malik on December 18.

CBI team leader A K Sahay told reporters the agency had taken up the case on January 12 and expected its investigation would be over shortly.

Then comes this interesting news report on Jan 21 2007 in the Statesman in which the relatives of the deceased girl allege that the State CID and Police are not investigating or identifying who was guarding the fence at the site.

Disappointed with the way the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was probing the murder, the relatives of the dead girl had accused the state government controlled investigating agency of being ‘least bothered’ to identify those who were guarding the area on the previous night.

 Then they go on to recount the insidous role played by the local police and CID.

Neither the local police nor the CID officers even tried to identify the security men despite being requested. Instead, they pressurized us to say that Tapasi has committed suicide.

They repeatedly asked me if Tapasi had an affair with any local boy even though I replied in negative each time,” said Tapasi’s relative Miss Aparna Dhara.

Then on Jan 23rd the Times of India reports that

a CBI team  led by P K Basu reached Singur on Monday and served notices to four villagers in Singur. The CBI summoned them to its headquarters in Kolkata in connection with Tapasi Malik’s murder whose charred body was spotted within the factory site recently.

On March 23rd The Telegraph reports that the West Bengal Government has prodded the CBI to expedite the probe. This was no gentle nod in fact

Chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb called up the Prime Minister’s Office this morning and asked officials to ensure that the investigation is completed soon.

“The case dates back to December 18, 2006. A case was lodged in Singur police station, which was later handed over to the CBI. So much time has elapsed since then, but we have no idea about the progress of the investigation. We want to know how far the CBI has solved the case,” Deb said.

Then comes this curious news report in The Telegraph on Wednesday June 27th right after Debu Malik was arrested by the CBI. Debu was arrested on 24th after he failed a polygraph.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee wants the person involved in the Tapasi Malik murder to be punished, irrespective of the party he is affiliated to.

CPM sources in Singur said Debu is close to Debakar Das, a member of CPM’s Hooghly district committee, and also to Suhrid Dutta, the CPM’s Singur zonal committee secretary. They also said he was made in charge of the guards at the factory site at the instance of two local leaders.

“Although Debu is not active CPM member, he is a genuine party supporter,” said Dutta today.

 Offstumped Bottomline: It is ironical that in 24 hrs the CPI-M makes an about turn and a leader of the stature of Jyoti Basu makes assertions of a political conspiracy and pressure on CBI. In the 7 months since the murder of Tapasi Malik if the CBI was doing anything it was to drag its feet.

There was no new forensic evidence than nailed Debu except random interrogation based on statements made by him on TV.

If there was any entity that piled pressure on the CBI it was neither the UPA nor Manmohan Singh but it was Buddahdeb Bhattacharjee and the Chief Secretary of West Bengal Government. .

the CPI-M has been caught once again with its pants down and this time it does not even have the proverbial fig leaf to cover its shame

Mr. Basu’s CPI-M in West Bengal has been exposed for its treason  by the CIA and now in Singur it has been exposed for its Doublethink

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