Updated: September 24, 2021 4:28:15 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has named TMC leader and former Maoist Chhatradhar Mahato as the main accused in its chargesheet in the Rajdhani Express hostage case. The chargesheet was filed before an NIA special court.
According to sources in the agency, the NIA has named 13 people in the chargesheet. Apart from Chhatradhar, the names of his brother Shashadhar Mahato and former Maoist commander Kisheji also feature in the chargesheet.
Sources in the NIA further said to free himself from jail, Chhatradhar planned to take the Rajdhani passengers hostage. The People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), a Maoist front that he founded, executed the plan with the help of the Leftist ultras and some villagers, they added. Such allegations have been made in the chargesheet.
Of the 13 accused in the case, three have died already and four more former Maoists were absorbed into the West Bengal police as home guards after they surrendered their arms.
The state government had released Chhatradhar a few months before the Assembly polls. However, on March 26, the day after polling in Jangalmahal, the NIA raided his house in the wee hours and arrested him again. The chargesheet has been filed within 180 days of his arrest. A total of 50 pages of this chargesheet was submitted on Thursday. The accused, including Chhatradhar, have been charged under multiple non-bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code and the UAP(A).
The Mahato family had termed his arrest on March 26 as political. The PCAPA had moved court seeking his house arrest in the case. However, the court dismissed the plea. Earlier, he was arrested by the NIA on September 22, 2009. Apart from being accused of taking Rajdhani passengers hostage, Chhatradhar was also alleged to be behind the killing of CPM activist Prabir Mahato.
Chhatradhar, who was on the frontline of the Lalgarh movement, was arrested in September 2009 by West Bengal Police. On his release from prison in February 2021, Chhatradhar was appointed as an office bearer of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
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