TRINAMOOL Congress leader Tapas Mallick, one of the 10 persons named in the murder of ITI student Kaushik Purkait in Diamond Harbour of South 24 Parganas district, was arrested late Thursday — hours before the state CID took over the case.
Mallick, the Trinamool Congress’ up-pradhan of the local panchayat, was absconding ever since his name surfaced in the FIR lodged by the family of Kaushik, who was beaten to death on Monday night on the suspicion that he was a cattle smuggler.
Mallick was arrested from Bamangachhi crossing near Duttapukur in North 24 Parganas district while he was travelling in a white SUV. He was accompanied by a youth Billu, who too was arrested.
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On Friday, Mallick was produced at the Diamond Harbour SDJM court, which sent him to a 13-day police custody. Four others arrested earlier in the case had been remanded to 13-day police custody by the court on Wednesday. Sources said the members of Bar association have unanimously decided not to represent Mallick and his associates in the court.
“To escape from the police, Mallick had changed his hideouts several times in the last three days. He had also changed his cellphone SIM. We had drawn up a list of his relatives and friends whom he could contact and kept a tab on their activities. We managed to get Mallick’s new cellphone number from them and tracked him down. We believe he wanted to flee to Bangladesh,” said senior police officer.
Meanwhile, while under instruction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the CID has taken over the case, Kaushik’s father Kartick Purkait said he did not trust any state agency and again demanded a CBI probe.
“My residence is at Mandir Bazar and the witnesses are from Bahadurpur, where the incident had taken place. The witnesses can easily be influenced unless the probe agency is hell bent on unearthing the truth,” he said.
The CID team on Friday visited Bahadurpur, where Kaushik had come on May 9 to visit his aunt Chanda Halder.
He was roaming around when he was confronted by members of a local club and forcibly taken to a room and beaten up. He was later rescued by his relatives, who rushed to a hospital. He died hours later at S S K M Hospital in Kolkata. The CID officers have also recorded the statements of several villagers, said sources.
The Trinamool, meanwhile, is yet to take any action against Mallick. When contacted, state minister Partha Chatterjee said, “Till I receive a report from the district committee, I can’t comment on the issue.”