‘Completely unprovoked’, says NIA on attack by unruly crowd during action in Bengal’s Bhupatinagar blast case : The Tribune India

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‘Completely unprovoked’, says NIA on attack by unruly crowd during action in Bengal’s Bhupatinagar blast case

One NIA officer was injured and a vehicle was damaged on Saturday when the team was going to arrest two persons in the case

‘Completely unprovoked’, says NIA on attack by unruly crowd during action in Bengal’s Bhupatinagar blast case

A police vehicle after it was attacked by villagers during NIA's investigation into the 2022 Bhupatinagar blast case, in Purba Medinipur district, on April 6, 2024. PTI



PTI

New Delhi, April 7

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday strongly refuted the allegation of mala fide intention while carrying out raids and arrests in a two-year-old blast case during which its team was attacked by an unruly crowd in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district.

One NIA officer was injured and a vehicle was damaged on Saturday when the NIA team was going to arrest two persons in the Bhupatinagar blast case, in which three persons were killed in December 2022.

“The NIA categorically refuted allegations of mala fide in its Bhupatinagar blast case,” an agency spokesperson said.

The NIA spokesperson termed the entire controversy “unfortunate” and made it clear that the attack on its team was “completely unprovoked”.

The NIA statement came hours after Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee alleged an “unholy alliance” between the NIA and the BJP and said the Election Commission remains “conspicuously silent” on the issue.

“Experience the unfolding alliance between the @NIA_India and @BJP4Bengal, orchestrating conspiracies against Trinamool leaders and the Model Code of Conduct.

“While this collusion persists, the ECI stands by, conspicuously silent, neglecting its duty to ensure fair play,” Banerjee posted on 'X'.

On Saturday, after the NIA team was attacked, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, while addressing an election rally in Dakshin Dinajpur district, had accused the NIA team of attacking villagers.

“The attack was not perpetrated by the women of Bhupatinagar, but rather by the NIA team,” she alleged.

On Sunday, the NIA made it clear that its actions were bona fide, lawful and legally mandated, as part of its ongoing investigation into the heinous crime related to fabrication of crude bombs, leading to an explosion that killed three persons.

The NIA reiterated that its team had come under violent attack by an unruly mob when they had gone to conduct searches in Naruabila village on Saturday in connection with its probe into the case.

“The attack was completely unprovoked and uncalled for and an attempt to obstruct the NIA from carrying out its lawful duties,” the agency said.

It pointed out that the searches were conducted at five locations in the presence of independent witnesses and under the security cover provided by the CRPF, which included women constables.

The arrests were made after following all lawful procedures, the NIA spokesperson said.

“The NIA has re-stated that an aggressive crowd had assaulted the NIA personnel who were taking arrested accused Manobrata Jana to the local police station for completing legal formalities.

“One NIA official sustained injuries and an official vehicle of the NIA was also damaged in the attack,” the spokesperson said.

The NIA has already filed a complaint at the area police station seeking legal action against the assailants.

The NIA had on Saturday arrested Manobrata Jana and Bailicharan Maity for their involvement in the case.

The NIA also said that that the duo had failed to appear before the agency despite repeated summons to join the investigation.

The agency had, accordingly, filed an application before a special NIA court in Kolkata, which, after perusing the case records, had issued an order on April 3, 2024, stating that it found the allegations to be of very serious nature.

The special court had also observed that the agency was “at liberty to proceed with the investigation as expeditiously as possible, and to take all necessary action with regard to arrest, search and seizure of the houses of the suspects and accused persons, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Criminal Code of Procedure, NIA Act and UA(P)A so far applicable for a proper and thorough investigation.

Following the special court's order, the NIA had conducted the searches, which culminated in the arrest of the two accused, who were found to be involved in the case.

The blast had taken place in December 2022 and the NIA had taken over the investigation in the case on June 6, 2023 on the directions of the Calcutta High Court.

The attack on the NIA team evoked memories of January 5 when a team of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was attacked by a mob in North 24 Parganas district's Sandeshkhali during a search at the house of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh in connection with alleged irregularities in the public distribution system.

On Sunday, senior Trinamool Congress leader Kunal Ghosh also alleged that a senior state BJP leader from Paschim Bardhaman district, who was earlier with TMC, had met an NIA SP at his apartment in New Town area of Kolkata on March 26 and handed over a list of TMC leaders to be arrested by the agency from different parts of the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

#National Investigation Agency NIA #West Bengal



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