October 3, 2009

Mahato has a life cover of Rs. 1 crore: Police

Kolkata: Chhatradhar Mahato, convenor of the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC), has a life insurance cover of Rs. 1 crore. This was revealed during police interrogation following his arrest from the Lalgarh area on September 26.

West Bengal Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh told journalists at the State Secretariat that interrogation had also revealed his links with the Maoists and with some people in Kolkata from whom he had received funding. He also has properties in Orissa including a house in Mayurbhanj district of the State. Mr. Singh said that the insurance cover was from private sector insurers, for which two instalments of premium were paid. He said the police had also come to know of at least five bank accounts, some of which were in PSBJC’s name. Persons from the city had also kept in touch with him, it was revealed, and until now a funding of Rs. 1.5 lakh had been unearthed.

The police recently arrested another PSBJC leader, Sukhsanti Baskey, who is the treasurer of the Committee. He is also being interrogated.
Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty told journalists separately that Chhatradhar Mahato had been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act because of his Maoist links. CPI (M) leader and former parliamentarian Mohammed Salim said at the party secretariat that the premium for a policy of this order would be around Rs. 5 lakh a year. “From a Forest Department worker, he has reached a stage where he can make such investments!”

Mr. Salim alleged that money had flown freely to Chhatradhar Mahato for destroying democracy in the State and for ousting the lawful government from West Bengal.

Mahato had links with Maoists, says West Bengal

Marcus Dam

KOLKATA: The West Bengal administration, which has confirmed information of Chhatradhar Mahato, convener of the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC), having “connections” with the Maoists, does not see anything wrong in the manner of his arrest near Lalgarh in Paschim Medinipur district. Policemen posing as journalists arrested him on September 26.

“Yes,” was Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen’s reply to questions from journalists here on Tuesday whether the State administration was sure that Mr. Mahato had links with the Maoists. Mr. Mahato has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Asked whether it was ethical on the part of policemen to pose as journalists to arrest the PSBJC leader, Mr. Sen said he was aware of such questions being raised in certain quarters. “But I am not one with them,” he said of those disapproving the way the arrest was made.

The International Federation of Journalists reportedly said in a statement that it was “deeply disturbed” by the implications of the operation. Some human rights activists have also expressed their resentment.

Responding to apprehensions of journalists that the operation could affect their functioning while reporting on events at Lalgarh, Mr. Sen said: “It might be difficult for a few days, after which all will be well and it will no longer be difficult to collect information… Telephonic interviews can always continue.”
THE HINDU,Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009