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CBI makes first arrest in Birbhum massacre, nabs 4 suspects from Mumbai: Sources

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Calcutta: In connection with the Rampurhat killings in Bengal’s Birbhum last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation has detained four people in Mumbai. The central probing agency revealed on Thursday that four people had been arrested in Mumbai in connection with the case.

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This is the CBI’s first arrest since taking over the investigation. On transit remand, the accused would be taken to Kolkata. Bappa Sheikh, Sabu Sheikh, and two others were arrested, according to sources at the investigative agency. They were allegedly present at the scene on the night of the tragedy, in which nine people died when numerous houses were set on fire.

The CBI tracked the accused’s mobile phone tower locations and detained them. A day after the incident i.e. on March 22, the accused fled to Mumbai, according to sources.

In a sealed envelope, the CBI also presented a primary investigation report in the matter to the Calcutta High Court on Thursday. According to sources, the agency has brought “evidence destruction” before Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj’s division bench.

The issue of handing over the murder case of TMC deputy chief pradhan Bhadu Sheikh to the CBI came up during today’s hearing. The Bengal administration said that the state police are investigating the murder and that the CBI is unnecessary.

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For the unversed, the assassination of Bhadu Sheikh in Rampurhat in March kicked off a chain of events that resulted in at least eight houses in the region being set on fire, killing nine people.

“Last Monday through an application, I had prayed before the honarable judge to hand over both the investigations to the CBI. Today after a prolonged hearing, we are hopeful that we have been able to convince the court that if the CBI investigates both the incidents, it will be easier for the agency too. We believe when the two incidents are investigated by an independent agency, only then there is a possibility of impartial probe,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer Kaustav Bagchi. The court has reserved its judgement in the matter.

On March 25, the Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI investigation into the Rampurhat massacre. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed by the state government to investigate the occurrence. The SIT was directed to give over the case materials to the CBI, as well as individuals it had detained. The SIT had detained 22 persons, including Anarul Hossain, the TMC’s Block President.

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