statesman news service
SILIGURI, 28 JUNE: An accused in an ISI-related case, Magan Bahadur Singh (54), was “released” mysteriously from Darjeeling correctional home yesterday evening. He addressed a Press meet in Siliguri today and said that he was about to surrender as he felt his release was against the norms. Police picked him up when the Press conference ended. The Darjeeling administration has ordered a probe into the ‘release’. However, the matter has remained unexplained for.
Along with four suspected ISI operatives, Singh (see sns photo, man wearing cap) was arrested on 18 May. A resident of Chota Adalpur in the Sukna police station area, he was dismissed from the Indian Army in 2008. The arrests are believed to have been made after an alleged ISI operative, B K Sinha, who had been employed as an upper-divisional clerk of the Indian Army in Jaipur, was arrested. Police are said to have acted on a tip-off from Rajasthan police. Singh is also being tried for a murder case.
“I was brought to the Kurseong Court for trial regarding the murder case from the Darjeeling correctional home. I was taken back there after the hearing ended. In the evening, I was taken aback when the correctional home officials told me that I was being released. I felt something was wrong as the ISI case is still pending. After walking out of the jail, I talked to my lawyer. He counseled that I should surrender before police," he said in the Press meet.
"I was terrified as I feared that police would frame a fresh case regarding my ‘escape’. Or they might have gunned me down supposing me to be a fugitive. However, I am innocent as far as the ISI case is concerned. It is true that I had visited Kathmandu last year but I am not connected in any way with the Pakistan-based intelligence agency," Singh added.
His lawyer, Mr Bhaskar Das blamed the correctional authority for the matter.
“My client could have fled, but he has not done such a thing. We understood, something was wrong as the next hearing as regards the ISI connection case is slated for 3 July. I advised him to surrender and he was about to do so when police picked him up, “he added. Singh was taken to the Kurseong Court later, informed a senior government lawyer.
The additional inspector general, correctional services (north), Mr K K Mukherjee, said a show cause notice has been issued to the assistant controller of the correctional home. “The departmental probe has already started. I would ask the assistant controller and other staff members of the correctional home to explain the ‘release’,” he added.
The Darjeeling superintendent of police, Mr Kunal Agarwal, said police have filed a suo moto case against the correctional home authority.
The Darjeeling district magistrate, Mr Saumitra Mohan said he has asked the Darjeeling sub-divisional officer (SDO), Mr Kaushik Nag to investigate the matter.
“He has been asked to submit report in two days. After the report is submitted and gone through we would be in a position to enlighten on the mysterious release of the accused,” Mr Mohan said.