Prime accused in Bogtui killings "found hanging" in CBI office, family alleges torture

  • | Monday | 12th December, 2022

Kolkata, Dec 12 (PTI) The prime accused in the arson and violence in Bengal"s Bogtui village, which had in March claimed at least 10 lives, was found hanging on Monday in a temporary office of the CBI, a source in the central agency said.Lalan Sheikh, arrested earlier this month from a hideout along the Bengal-Jharkhand border, died by hanging himself with a "gamcha" (thin cotton towel) in the washroom of the office that the agency has set up in a guest house in Rampurhat area of Birbhu, district, the source said.His family members, however, alleged that his "death resulted from the torture" that he was subjected to in CBI custody.Talking to PTI, the CBI source said, "Sheikh was found hanging in the washroom of the guest house, where we have set up our temporary camp, around 4.30 pm. The two investigating officers (IOs) of the case were in the court at that time."One CRPF constable was outside the washroom, but the accused, despite his presence, managed to die by suicide. We have informed the police and the National Human Rights Commission of India about the incident. All necessary procedures are being followed," the source said.The accused, following his arrest, was initially remanded in CBI custody for six days, and it was later extended by three more days, the CBI source said.Claiming that Sheikh was "severely beaten up" in CBI custody, family members of Sheikh have sought a probe into the matter."My brother was brought to our village a few days ago (as part of the probe) and he told us that CBI officers had been beating him up in custody. He was scared of dying. We want action against the CBI officers who are responsible for my brother"s death," Sheikh’s elder sister told reporters.A senior police officer of Birbhum district, when contacted, said a probe will soon be initiated."The reason behind the death is still unclear. We were informed by the CBI about the death around 4.40 pm. We will look into the case," he told PTI.Meanwhile, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh, taunting opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, sought to know if this was the "big revelation" that he was talking about.Adhikari had last week asked people to "wait and see what happens on December 12, 14 and 21", refusing to divulge further details."Suvendu had been saying that he will reveal something big on December 12. Is this the big thing he was talking about? Today an important person in the investigation died in CBI custody. There are many skilled officers in CBI. Why did it happen? Was the accused killed?" Ghosh said.BJP leader Rahul Sinha also demanded a neutral investigation into the case."There must be an investigation. We want to know if there was any conspiracy involved to protect a bigger culprit behind the Bogtui massacre," Sinha told PTI.CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty, too, demanded an answer from the CBI over the custodial death."The CBI took nine months to arrest the prime accused, and now he died in its custody. The CBI is answerable for this. There must be a judicial probe into the death. Is it a truly a suicide or a murder?" Chakraborty told PTI.At least 10 people were killed in the arson and violence that followed the murder of local TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh on March 21. The CBI is probing the case on the orders of Calcutta High Court. PTI SCH RMS RMS

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