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Armed SSB men 'free' murder accused officer from police custody

However, The Officer, One Of The Prime Accused In The Case, Was Handed Over To The Police Soon After, Following Instructions From Highly-placed SSB Officials.

PTI | Updated on: 23 Feb 2018, 11:51:20 PM
Armed SSB men 'free' murder accused officer from police custody (Representative Image/Source: PTI)

Diamond Harbor:

A Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) commandant, arrested in connection with a murder case, was "freed" from the police custody by the force's armed personnel by holding the policemen at gunpoint at the Diamond Harbour police station this morning, the police said.

However, the officer, one of the prime accused in the case, was handed over to the police soon after, following instructions from highly-placed SSB officials.

One of the police personnel was also allegedly assaulted by the SSB men.

The incident drew sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who said that law-and-order was a state subject and that nobody should meddle with it.

SSB Commandant Deepak Kumar Singh, Havildar Amitabha Pramanik and Mozammal Mondal, a cable TV business owner from Sarisha Haat in South 24 Parganas district, were arrested yesterday in connection with the killing of a cable TV company worker, Altaf Jamadar, another police officer said.

Jamadar's body was recovered from the cable TV office and after initial investigations, the two SSB personnel and Mondal were arrested.

"Several armed SSB personnel went to the Diamond Harbour police station this morning on the pretext of talking to the two accused and then, snatched the commandant by holding the police personnel at gunpoint, before fleeing in a vehicle of the force," Superintendent of Police (SP), Diamond Harbour Police District, Koteswara Rao told PTI.

The SSB is a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is entrusted with the task of guarding India's border with Nepal and Bhutan.

Senior police officers from the district, including Rao, led a large team of police personnel to the SSB camp located nearby, where the officer was allegedly given shelter.

State Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma spoke to West Bengal Inspector General (IG), SSB, Shrikumar Bandopadhyay, following which the officer was "immediately" handed over to the police, a police official said.

When contacted, Bandopadhyay told PTI that strict action would be taken against the SSB personnel involved in helping the commandant escape from police custody.

"I have already ordered an inquiry into the matter. Those found involved in the incident will be suspended and we will take strict action against them. My officers have already started the inquiry. I have sought a full report from them," he said.

The SSB also sought a report from the ADG (Law and Order) and the SP of the district in this connection.

"We have also sought reports from the ADG (Law and Order) and the SP on whether they can identify anyone who went to the police station and helped the prime accused SSB commandant come out of the police custody," Bandopadhyay said, adding, "Law will take its own course and the force has nothing to hide or save anyone."

Asked if any action would be taken against the personnel of the Diamond Harbour police station on the ground of laxity, Sharma said, "We are looking into it. Nothing has been decided and a detailed report has been sought in connection with the incident."

The injured police personnel, who was allegedly assaulted by the SSB men, was undergoing treatment at a nearby medical facility, Rao said.

Meanwhile, the chief minister expressed her displeasure over the incident.

Banerjee, who is currently on a visit to north Bengal, said law-and-order was a state subject and that nobody should interfere in it.

When produced at the Diamond Harbour Court, the two SSB personnel were remanded to a 14-day judicial custody, while the other accused was sent to a five-day police custody, Rao said.

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First Published : 23 Feb 2018, 11:49:23 PM