Kolkata, March 14 (IANS) Four men were arrested in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district for allegedly firing at a group of people in Netai area Jan 7 killing nine, a senior Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official said Monday.
“We have arrested four men, who fired at people on Jan 7. Two others were detained for verification,” Superintendent of CBI’s Special Crime Branch Arun Bothra said.
The arrests took place Sunday, he added.
Nine people, including four women, were killed and 28 others injured in the clashes triggered by assailants allegedly backed by the ruling Marxists in Netai near the Maoist stronghold of Lalgarh in the district. Lalgarh is around 150 km from here.
The officer said the CBI got a tip-off that the accused had taken shelter in Goaltore area of the district. The arrested men were identified as Pintu Rai, Raju Rai, Jaganath Rai and Gandibaran Rai.
“The four accused would be presented before a court in Jhargram Monday,” Bothra told IANS over phone.
Local residents, however, claimed that all the arrested men were supporters of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). They were hired armed cadre who camped in party leader Rathin Dandapat’s house in Netai village, they allege.
“We are not asking the accused about their political affiliation, so we cannot confirm whether they were CPI-M men or not. We are interrogating them to know the whereabouts of the other accused,” said Bothra.
Earlier, the state police’s Criminal Investigation Department had arrested CPI-M local committee members Abani Singh and Aswani Chalak for complicity in the case.
The CID also accused CPI-M’s local committee secretary Joydeb Giri, zonal committee member Fullora Mondal and owner of the house Rathin Dandapat, but none of them were arrested.
Later, following the directives of the Calcutta High Court, the CID handed over the investigation into the Netai case to the CBI Feb 22.