The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and 22 other top leaders in connection with the murder of All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang.
A division bench comprising Justices Ashim Kumar Roy and M M Banerjee ordered all accused to surrender by December 21 before the city sessions court to complete bail formalities. The bench directed that charges should be framed in the murder case by February 1, 2017, after which the trial must begin.
The court added that none of them would be able to leave the jurisdiction of the city metropolitan court without its leave till disposal of the trial. Bimal Gurung’s senior counsel Sekhar Basu appealed to the court that Gurung and all other accused were important functionaries of GJM and their stay in Kolkata for such a long period would hamper administrative work, but the court rejected his plea. Calling the matter “very important and sensitive”, the HC directed the sessions court to ensure a speedy trial.
Tamang was hacked to death in Darjeeling town on May 21, 2010, when he was overseeing preparations for a public meeting. A group of men attacked him with knives in front of television cameras stationed there to record the rally. Several arrests were made, including that of prime accused Nicole Tamang. Nicole however, disappeared mysteriously in August 2010 from Pintail village near Siliguri, where he was being held by the state CID for interrogation. Madan Tamang’s widow Bharati then moved the Supreme Court seeking early completion of investigation and arrest of the accused persons.
The CBI had on May 29, 2015, filed a chargesheet against the GJM leaders under IPC sections for murder and criminal conspiracy in the Tamang case. Usually, a chargesheet is followed by a prayer by the investigating agency seeking specific proceedings against those charged. In this case, the CBI chargesheet was not accompanied by any such prayer.
The agency had filed the final supplementary chargesheet before court against Gurung, his wife Asha, and others for criminal conspiracy, murder and other charges.
Last year, CBI had appealed for an arrest warrant against Gurung and 22 others within eight days of filing a supplementary chargesheet. In the first week of June last year, a Kolkata court issued the warrants, giving the CBI 20 days to execute the warrants. However, nobody was arrested. In the meantime, the accused appealed before the high court for anticipatory bail.