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26 Jul 2017

Bimal relief till August 17

TT, Calcutta, July 25: A Calcutta court today rejected the CBI's plea to issue arrest warrants against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung and 21 other accused in the Madan Tamang murder case for failing to appear yesterday.
"According to the high court order, the accused would have to reach the city a day before framing of charges and have to stay here till the trial. So, the court cannot issue warrants of arrest against them for not appearing yesterday," Kundan Kumar Kumai, the chief judge of the city sessions court, said in his order.
The judge also accepted a plea by the accused to let them be represented by their counsel during hearings. But as the order pointed out, they would have to reach Calcutta a day before the framing of the charges starts and be present in the city till the completion of the trial. According to a Calcutta High Court order, the chief judge of the sessions court would have to frame charges by August 17.
However, the counsel for the accused informed the chief judge yesterday that his clients had already filed a petition in the Supreme Court to shift the trial from the sessions court in Calcutta to the apex court in Delhi.
Where the final trial - that would determine the outcome of the case - is held will depend on the fate of the petition in the Supreme Court. The counsel for the suspects could not say when the plea would come up in the apex court.
In the sessions court today, the judge asked Bidhannagar police to file a report on allegations that they were harassing 26 accused in the case who had appeared during yesterday's hearing.
This followed claims by their lawyer Sayan De before the judge that the police were "unnecessarily harassing" the 26 who have come down from the Darjeeling hills to Calcutta for the case.
"Some policemen followed my clients during their return to Gorkha Bhavan in Salt Lake, where they are staying, yesterday. A police team repeatedly raided their rooms yesterday evening and threatened them," advocate De said.
The hearing will continue tomorrow. The judge today announced that between August 1 and 4, he would hear petitions by the accused seeking quashing of the charges brought by the CBI.
Madan Tamang, 62, the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Gorkha League and a vocal critic of the Morcha, had been hacked to death in Darjeeling on May 21, 2010.
Tamang was attacked at Club Side Motor Stand, near Planters Club, where he had gone with his supporters to celebrate the foundation day of his party.

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