CBI books 3 leaders, over 300 members of BJP-ally IPFT in Tripura scribes’ killing case

The CBI has booked three IPFT leaders, along with 300-500 members of the political party in Tripura, after taking over the probes into the killings of two journalists in the state last year, officials said in New Delhi on Sunday.

Santanu Bhowmik, a journalist from a local television channel, was killed when he went to cover a road-blockade agitation in the Mandwai area of West Tripura district on September 21 last year.

Another journalist, Sudip Dutta Bhowmik, a crime reporter with a vernacular newspaper, was killed inside the headquarters of the Tripura State Rifles’ (TSR) 2nd battalion at RK Nagar in the same district on November 20 last year.

The agency has booked Balram Deb Barma, Dhirendra Deb Barma, both leaders of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a coalition partner of the ruling BJP, and Amit Deb Barma, the president of the Mandwi divisional committee of the party, along with 300-500 of its unidentified members, in connection with the two cases.

The trial in Sudip Dutta Bhowmik’s murder case in the additional district and sessions judge’s court was stopped following orders from the Tripura High Court.

The state police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) had probed the killing and filed a chargesheet. It had also investigated the killing of Santanu Bhowmik, but is yet to file a chargesheet.

Santanu’s father Sadhan Bhowmik, who was not happy with the police probe, had approached the high court seeking a CBI investigation, which was opposed by the then CPI(M)-led Left Front government in the state.

The current BJP government had informed the court in May that it had referred the matter to the CBI.

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