Tripura cops suspended after man's custodial death

Agartala, Jan 14
Two Tripura policemen, including an officer, were suspended for their negligence of duty in a police station, where a 38-year-old man was found dead during police custody, official said on Tuesday.

The man -- Sushanta Ghosh (38) -- was arrested on Friday from his house in Lankamura on the outskirts of the state capital in connection with huge cash theft from Agartala city ATMs using cloning devices by the two Turkish and two Bangladeshi nationals.

Police claimed that the youth committed suicide on Sunday at the West Agartala police station during his police custody.

"A sub-inspector of police and a constable were suspended for their negligence of duty in the police station during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday," a police official said.

The issue has rocked the state politics forcing the Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to order a magisterial inquiry into the death of Sushanta Ghosh, who was arrested following the interrogations of the Turkish and Bangladeshi nationals.

The official said that the police authority has also appointed a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) to investigate the matter.

According to the official, the slain youth was involved in connection with the stealing of huge amount of cash from ATMs in Agartala using cloning devices by two Turkish and two Bangladeshi nationals, who were arrested at Belgharia (under North 24 Parganas district) in West Bengal in November and are now being interrogated by the intelligence and cyber crime branch officials in Agartala.

After visiting Ghosh's family former Tripura Chief Minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Manik Sarkar said that a judicial probe must be conducted, while the officers of the West Agartala Police Station should be removed at once.

Meanwhile, the Tripura government on Monday transferred 32 senior police officers, including the Superintendent of Police (Cyber Crime) Sharmistha Chakraborty, who was probing the ATM robberies.

Senior lawyer and Tripura Human Rights Organisation Secretary Purusattam Roybarman has demanded a judicial probe by a sitting High Court judge.

While the CPI-M has urged the Tripura Human Rights Commission to inquire into the incident, the Congress has demanded a judicial probe.

Sushanta's father Parimal Ghosh in an FIR claimed his son died following police torture.

"My son was arrested as the Turkish and Bangladeshi ATM hackers had earlier bought sweets from my shop. My son had helped them exchange dollars into rupees without knowing their (Bangladeshis) criminality," Ghosh said, and claimed that some injury marks have been found on his son's body.

As per the preliminary probe, the Turkish nationals along with their Bangladeshi collaborators had stolen Rs 50 lakh during October-November last year from around 80 customers of different banks, mostly from State Bank of India by hacking the ATMs in Agartala.

Police official probing the crime said that the same foreign nationals had stolen a huge amount of cash by hacking the ATMs in Guwahati and Kolkata.