December 29, 2008

Senior CBI officer caught taking bribe in Kolkata

DSP Partha Sarathi Bose was arrested after a Delhi CBI team laid a trap at Ultadanga crossing
KOLKATA, 28 December: The Deputy Superintendent of Police of CBI, Special Crime Branch, Kolkata, Partha Sarathi Bose, was arrested on Sunday by the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Wing (Delhi) while taking bribe. With Bose being the officer in-charge of various sensitive cases in West Bengal, including Tapasi Malik murder case, Chhota Angaria case and Rabindranath Tagore Nobel theft case, the arrest is expected to create a storm. He is the second high-ranking officer in the Special Crime Branch (SCB) of CBI to be arrested. On August 23, 2007, a month before his retirement, A K Sahay, an SP, was arrested on charges of extortion and amassing wealth disproportionate to his income. Sahay was in charge of the SCB and Bose’s immediate superior.

“The DSP has been asking for Rs 50,000 from a person and harassing him. After receiving the complaint, our special team from the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch went to Kolkata. A trap was laid and he was caught red-handed,” said a source from Delhi.

According to the CBI, Avatar Singh, a truck operator from Kolkata, lodged a complaint with the agency saying the DSP was asking for a bribe and threatening to implicate him in the murder of an officer with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Guwahati in 2006.

On September 12, 2006, Tarun Kumar Dutta, the DRI officer who had reportedly intercepted drug consignments estimated to be worth over Rs 40 crore in the international market, was shot dead by Assam-based drug mafia kingpin Samsul Haque Talukdar alias Pakhi Mian in Guwahati. Pakhi Mian was arrested this year on April 22 by the West Bengal Police from Baguiati. The SCB is investigating the case.

“According to Avatar Singh’s complaint, Bose said his garage was frequented by one Munna Musalman, a co-accused of Pakhi Mian. Bose threatened him that he would implicate him in the murder case if he failed to shell out Rs 50,000. He made a number of phone calls to Singh and also met him personally,” said another source. A trap was laid and Avatar called up Bose to arrange for a meeting to hand over the money. Bose and Singh fixed Ultadanga crossing as the venue. Bose was caught when he arrived at the spot at 12.10 pm and took the cash. Teams raided his office in Salt Lake and his residence in Ultadanga. The raids were on till last reports came in.

Bose, who was leading the investigation in a number of high-profile cases, is one of the most important CBI officers in Bengal. He faced sharp criticism from the ruling CPI(M) when he arrested Suhrid Dutta, party’s Hooghly district committee member, and his accomplice Debu Malik in the Tapasi Malik murder case. The two were recently convicted for life by a lower court. Bose was also criticised by the ruling party for his investigation into the Chhota Angaria case.

According to sources, the CBI top brass in Delhi is now preparing to replace Bose in the SCB’s Kolkata office, which is already reeling under a shortage of senior officers. Superintendent of Police (CBI) S Sunder Rajan was recently transferred to Orissa and held joint charge for both Kolkata and Orissa offices. Bose was at present in charge of the SCB Kolkata, in the absence of any superior.

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