Murder Case Back to Haunt Bimal Gurung, Calcutta HC Raps CBI

The HC asked CBI why it was taking the Madan Tamang murder case, in which Bimal Gurung stands accused, so lightly. 

2 min read
GJM leader Bimal Gurung at a rally in Darjeeling. 

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the CBI for not ensuring presence of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) President Bimal Gurung and 21 other accused in a Kolkata city court in connection with the Madan Tamang murder case.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty asked the CBI, which investigated the matter, as to why the agency did not bother to ensure the presence of these people in the city court as was directed by the high court.

It directed that the hearing on framing of charges be completed by 17 August in the city sessions court.

“Has CBI ever taken notice and objected? Why is it taking it so lightly?” the bench asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) representing the CBI.

It wondered whether hearing on framing of charges can be done without the presence of the accused.

ASG Kaushik Chanda submitted that the trial court had allowed their application for being represented by their lawyers.

The CBI earlier submitted an affidavit, as directed by the bench on 11 July, claiming the agency “never gave any consent to whenever any exemption petition was filed by the accused”.

The High Court, which is hearing a PIL and other petitions jointly seeking restoration of normal life in restive Darjeeling, was told by a petitioner that Gurung and 21 other accused were not complying with an earlier order which put conditions for granting of anticipatory bail to them.

The division bench on 11 July had directed the CBI to file an affidavit disclosing the reason why no steps have been taken by the central investigating agency to ensure implementation of the 14 December 2016 order by another division bench.

That bench had in December 2016 directed Gurung, his wife Asha and several other GJM leaders, accused in the murder, to remain in Kolkata Police area one day before commencement of hearing for charge framing. They shall not leave the jurisdiction of Kolkata Police until the trial is over, it had said.

The bench of acting Chief Justice on Wednesday directed that the hearing before the trial court, which is scheduled on 24 July, be continued on a priority basis.

Trial in the murder of All India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang was transferred from a Darjeeling court to the Kolkata court by the Supreme Court on a plea by the deceased’s widow that fair trial would not be possible there.

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