Scribe murder: IPFT alleges conspiracy against party

A day after the CBI booked its leaders in a journalist's murder case, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), a coalition partner of the ruling BJP, alleged that a conspiracy has been hatched by some people to harass the party.

IPFT Assistant General Secretary Mangal Debbarma claimed that it was his party that first raised the demand for a CBI inquiry into the killing of journalist Shantanu Bhowmik on September 20 last year during the Left Front rule.

"We shall extend all possible support to the CBI for their initiative to unearth the truth. We want real culprits to get punishment. But there are gossips that a few IPFT leaders are associated with the incident. We vehemently oppose such gossips," Debbarma told a press conference here.

The IPFT leader's press conference came a day after the CBI lodged an FIR into the killing and booked three IPFT leaders, including MLA Dhirendra Debbarma, along with 300-500 members of the party.

Bhowmik, who worked with an Agartala-based TV news channel, was abducted and stabbed to death at Mandai, around 25 km from here, in West Tripura district while covering an agitation and road blockade programme by the IPFT.

Debbarma said, "Our party is confident that the CBI will be able to unearth the truth and award exemplary punishment to the culprits. However, no innocent member of the general public or the IPFT should be harassed."

Asked if he believed his party leaders were falsely implicated by the CBI, he said, "We do not have full details yet. But we feel that a conspiracy has been hatched against us by some quarters."

He said opposition political parties might be involved in the conspiracy.

CBI investigations into the murders of television journalist Santanu Bhowmik and newspaper reporter Sudip Dutta Bhowmik were among the main promises of the BJP in Tripura ahead of the February 18 assembly election this year.

Dutta Bhowmik, a crime reporter with a vernacular newspaper, was shot dead inside the headquarters of the Tripura State Rifles' (TSR) 2nd battalion at RK Nagar in West Tripura district on November 20 last year.

Shortly after assuming office on March 9, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had announced to hand over the probe into the cases to the CBI. In a notification on June 13, the CBI took over the two investigations.


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