Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung on Sunday welcomed a preliminary probe by an NIA team into the recent bomb blasts, murder of Sub-Inspector Amitava Malik and an arms haul in the Hills. The team, which reached Darjeeling hills Friday, is yet to officially take over the cases, which are presently being probe by the CID. Senior GJM leaders including Gurung stand accused in many cases, some under sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Gurung has since gone into hiding, with police on the lookout to apprehend him.
“We have not received any notification. If they wish to take up the cases, we will co-operate,” said a senior CID official.
According to sources, the NIA sent a three-member team to the Hills on Friday to collect case details and other documents. The team will file a report after their return, and a call will be taken on whether or not to take up the cases. Sources said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is preparing a notification for an official NIA takeover of the probes.
In a press release issued on Sunday, Gurung welcomed the move and said party leaders had repeatedly urged Home Minister Rajnath Singh for an NIA or CBI probe into recent incidents.
“Given the grave national security concerns involved with the region, we therefore whole heartedly welcome the NIA probe in the bomb blast and arms haul case and request Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh ji to initiate a CBI probe into the killings of Barun Bhujel (GJM councillor who died in a Kolkata hospital under jail custody recently), activists and police officer Amitava Malik. “ wrote Gurung.
The press release further read: “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to government of India and Union Home Minister Sri Rajnath Singh ji for their support to the highest ideals of fairness and justice in initiating this NIA probe. More importantly, we are grateful to Hon’ble MoS and Darjeeling MP Sri S S Ahluwalia ji for tirelessly working for the people of this constituency, despite all public perception to the contrary.”
The GJM chief has accused the state government of framing cases against GJM leaders, but failing to investigate the “real” causes and culprits. Gurung stressed on Darjeeling’s sensitive location, and said subversive activities are a threat to the nation.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has on numerous occasions alleged that Gurung and his followers are hand-in-glove with North East insurgents, and are backed by a foreign power.
According to Section 6 (5) of the NIA Act, 2008, the Centre can issue suo motu directions to take over a case if it finds it to be a “schedule offence”, or an act seen as a national security threat. According to Section 6 (6) of the Act, the state government and its agencies shall not proceed with the investigation, and must transmit all relevant documents and records to NIA.