Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mahato remanded in police custody

Statesman News Service
MIDNAPORE/KOLKATA, 1 OCT: Police Santras Birodhi Public Committee (PSBPC) leader, Chhatradhar Mahato, was remanded in police custody for seven days by the Jhargram additional chief judicial magistrate, Md Rezza, today.
Mahato, along with three other PSBPC activists (Sambhu Soren, Ranjit Murmu and Sukhen Murmu) was produced in court in connection with the Lalgarh police station case number ~ 161-09, dated 26 September, 2009.
They were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Mahato was earlier remanded in police custody for five days after being produced in court on 27 September.
After producing the accused before the court, it was submitted that the four were also wanted in nine other cases. A prayer for showing them arrested in the other cases was submitted to the magistrate, which was granted. The magistrate granted them bail in seven cases and rejected their bail pleas in the remaining two cases, for allegedly waging a war against the state, rioting and kidnapping a CPI-M activist and looting some CPI-M leaders' houses.
Mr Ashok Bakshi, who appeared for the state, sought 25 day police remand for the four accused in order to conduct further investigations.
Opposing the petition, the defence council, Mr Koushik Sinha, argued that since the police was given sufficient time earlier for investigation, further police remand was unjustified.Hearing both parties, the magistrate passed an order granting seven days police remand to the accused. Mr Sinha also submitted that PSBPC is not a terrorist organisation and therefore UAPA act is not applicable.
Though the district police have initially framed charges under the UAPA against Chhatradhar Mahato, the state government would take the final decision on framing charges under the Act after verifying all related documents collected against Mahato, state home secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen, said today at Writers’ Buildings. The state government is yet to give its nod in this regard, Mr Sen said.
This is considered to be significant as the home secretary himself said a couple of days ago that Mahato was arrested only after his links with the Maoists were confirmed. Sukh Shanti Baske a treasurer of the PSBPC who was arrested yesterday was not produced in the court today.

Source: The Statesman 2 October 2009

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