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11 Mar 2015

Pradhan apology to Morcha chief

Pradhan in Darjeeling on Tuesday.
(Pic: Suman Tamang)
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, March 10: Bhupendra Pradhan, the chairman of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration Sabha who was recently arrested for his alleged involvement in a fake antique coin case, today apologised to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha chief Bimal Gurung and said he was falsely implicated in the case.
Pradhan today came to Darjeeling and met Bimal Gurung. “I briefed him (Gurung) about the details of the case. He scolded me and said that I should not have gone to such a hotel. He told me that our party leaders should always be careful in Siliguri,” he said.
“Regarding the March 4 incident, I want to say that I am embarrassed by the turn of events. I want to apologise to my family members, my supporters and the party. I was framed in the entire case. Even though my name did not figure in the FIR, I was arrested,” said Pradhan.
Bhupendra, who is popularly known as Pradip Pradhan, was released on bail by the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court in Siliguri yesterday.
Pradhan was arrested in Siliguri on March 4, after a Jalpaiguri based businessman, Ravi Kithania lodged an FIR stating that Sanjib Maitra of Baghajatin Colony in Siliguri, and Sachin Biswakarma, from Gorubathan in Kalimpong subdivision had duped him regarding the sale of an antique coin. Bhupendra and eight others were allegedly introduced as “associates.”
Pradhan said that he had gone to Siliguri to arrange railway tickets for 33 GTA Sabha members for the March 9 Delhi dharna.
“I met two Vidyarthi Morcha supporters in Siliguri and we had lunch near Pintail village. The two started talking about opening a local cable channel in Kalimpong and then to discuss the issue further we went to a hotel. Then the police entered the hotel and started searching,” said Pradhan.
He said it was only after his arrest that he came to know about the issue. “After my arrest, the police brought a bowl like thing, which had an imprint of East India Company in a glass case. Later, I was told that some person had brought the item from Nepal. I am totally unaware of the details.” 
Police sources had earlier said the two youths with whom Kithania had struck a deal had claimed that the coin was a “rice puller coin” minted by the East India Company in 1818.

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