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5 Jan 2017

Rose thorns prick MPs - Comfort takes backseat for trinamul duo

Police personnel take Trinamul Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay to the CBI court in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati
Subhashish Mohanty, TT, Bhubaneswar, Jan. 4: Tables as bed, chappati and santula (mixed vegetable curry) for dinner and Indian latrines are all that the two powerful Trinamul Congress MPs - Sudip Bandopadhyay and Tapas Paul - can have in CBI custody here.
The two Bengal MPs are being probed for their complicity in the multi-crore Rose Valley deposit collection scam.
Lodged in separate rooms, like any other accused, at the central agency's office here, the two have been spending sleepless nights, as they do not even have the comfort of mosquito nets.
Sources said that Bandyopadhyay, who was brought here late last night from Calcutta, had been put up in one of the rooms on the first floor of the agency's office.
The office of the superintendent of police, CBI, is also on the same floor.
Paul, the actor-turned-politician, who preceded Bandyopadhyay to the CBI office at Unit-VIII, has been lodged in a room on the ground floor since Saturday.
There is a lock-up on the ground floor of the agency's two-floor office that has 10 rooms, but they have not been kept there. Sources said while they were being served fish for lunch, the dinner usually consists of chappati and santula.
"It's not that they facing privation. We sometimes ask them about their food preferences and try to meet their demands if any. For breakfast, bread is the usual fare," said an official on conditions of anonymity.
Though people in CBI remand can have home prepared food, the two MPs have so far not expressed such preference.
The duo is, however, being provided with filtered water, while health check-ups are being carried out regularly.
"We can't take any chances with them," said an official.
Sources said that Bandyopadhyay did not take any food last night. He only had a glass of water before going to sleep. He was obviously struggling to get used to his new surroundings at the CBI office.
Both Bandyopadhyay and Paul slept on tables in their respective rooms, but so far they have not complained about the treatment being meted out to them.Sources said Paul, who initially used to interact with the CBI officials informally, has suddenly become reticent. "He hardly speaks to anyone, except at the time of his interrogation," said an official.
Indian style latrines in the complex have posed another problem for the two VIPs who are used to western sit-on commodes.
"We don't have such toilets here. This is, after all, our office. We have standard latrines for the staff and they have to make do with that," said an official.
Bandyopadhyay, who was arrested by the CBI in Calcutta yesterday, has been remanded in CBI custody for six days by special chief judicial magistrate, CBI, here today. Having got Bandyopadhyay in custody, sources said that the CBI is planning to bring the four-time Bengal MP face-to-face with Paul for interrogation in the 25x15 feet conference hall at the agency's office here tomorrow.
The hall has a huge round table around which the interrogators would sit with the two accused. "If we feel we have extracted whatever we wanted from them then we may put them up in a single room," said an official.

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