In what could be a big blow to the Gorkhaland agitation, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed CBI to bring Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung and 21 other accused to the city sessions court here on July 24 for trial in the Madan Tamang murder case.
Gurung, who is spearheading the agitation for a separate state, is underground in the Hills. The division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty also directed that hearing on framing of charges in the murder case be completed in the city sessions court by August 17.
Rapping the investigation agency, the division bench wondered whether the hearing on framing of charges could be completed in the absence of the accused. “Has CBI ever taken notice and objected? Why is it taking it so lightly?” the bench asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) representing the CBI, according to a PTI report.
The 22 accused are out in anticipatory bail in the case of Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang and as condition of bail, were required to stay within the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police until the trial was completed.
PTI adds: ASG Kaushik Chanda submitted that the trial court had allowed their application for being represented by their lawyers. The CBI earlier submitted an affidavit, as directed by the bench on July 11, claiming the agency “never gave any consent to whenever any exemption petition was filed by the accused”.
The high court, which is hearing a PIL and other petitions jointly seeking restoration of normal life in restive Darjeeling, was told by a petitioner that Gurung and 21 other accused were not complying with an earlier order, which put conditions for granting of anticipatory bail to them.
The division bench on July 11 had directed the CBI to file an affidavit disclosing the reason why no steps have been taken by the central investigating agency to ensure implementation of the December 14, 2016 order by another division bench.