Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lakshman Seth, CPI(M) honcho tries to restrict the CRPF


‘Mr Raj, stay within limits of your camp’- Cellphone loudspeaker blares MP’s order to CRPF officer

Alok Raj on the phone. Picture courtesy STAR Ananda
The following is the conversation between Alok Raj, the deputy inspector-general of the CRPF, and Lakshman Seth, the CPM MP representing Tamluk which covers Nandigram, on Sunday morning soon after voting for the panchayat polls started. Lakshman Seth (LS) called Alok Raj (AR) at 9.10am. The conversation is being reproduced verbatim. Transcript courtesy: STAR Ananda.
AR: Why this false FIR against me, Mr Seth? Do you think I am the kind of person to go and molest a lady? Please answer me.… Of course, I respect you, you are an MP, Mr Seth, I respect you.… I am not exceeding my limit sir.… No sir, I am not.… You are trying to pressurise me and blackmail me.… I am listening to you sir, you are an MP, why should I not listen to you? Par koi aadmi merey khilaaf media mein yeh sab kyun keh raha hay? (Raj is referring to the allegation that he molested two women on Saturday night)
(Phone in loudspeaker mode)
LS: You first learn some courtesy. I rang you up, and you handed the phone over to someone else?
AR: No sir, that’s not how it happened. I was busy doing something else. I wouldn’t have taken the call if I didn’t want to speak to you.
LS: You are a government officer on duty, you must keep your phone on.
AR: I have done that. I have received hundreds of calls since morning.
LS: I was very hurt Mr Raj, I called you and you.…
AR: I am also very hurt sir, there’s a false FIR against me. Why? What wrong have I done?
LS: That’s for the police to investigate.
AR: You listen to me sir, I am trying to protect the citizens of this area, and there’s a false FIR against me. I am just doing my duty.
LS: No, Mr Raj, you have not.…
(Speaker switched off)
AR: I have not even touched your person. It is totally false....They have seen me? What time? 4.30 in the afternoon? I was at the police station sir, there was a meeting.… Mr Seth, I went to the police station straight from Rajaramchak (in Nandigram).... Listen to me, please.… Mr Seth, please listen.… listen to me, sir!... I did not go to number 7 Jalpai… whoever is saying I did, is totally wrong. Aap please verify kijiye.
(Speaker switched on)
LS: All this is for your unrestricted movement.
(Speaker switched off)
AR: Let me clarify. Mr A.K. Sarkar, IG of West Bengal, has given in writing that the CRPF will act as per the existing SOP (standard operating procedure) and existing areas of responsibility.… I am moving with the local police and a magistrate... yes, the magistrate is with me... they are right here, Sir!
(Speaker switched on)
LS: I am sitting with the local police.
AR: Aap please verify kijiye, sir! I am with the local police and a magistrate has been on the move with us.
LS: You are completely beyond the control of local administration.
AR: Let me clarify very politely, I am not working under the district administration.
LS: That is okay, that we know.
AR: I am working as a team with the local administration. I am very hurt with the false allegation. And I am telling you, sir, I will go to the honourable court and ask for a CBI or a judicial inquiry into this. Why the false FIR? It’s my fundamental right. I am not harming anybody... I am just doing my patrolling, nothing else.
LS: You should stay within the limits of your camp.
AR: Mr Seth, how can you? How can you direct me as to whether I should stay in or move outside my camp?
LS: You should.
AR: No, no! You cannot direct me. You are calling on my mobile, saying this on record.
LS: Yes, I am telling you on behalf of the local administration.
AR: No, Mr Seth. You cannot confine me to the camp. You cannot direct me in this regard.
LS: I am telling you this as per the government’s policy. I am not directing you.
AR: No, sir, you can’t tell me to stay within the confines of our camp.
(Speaker switched off)
Executive magistrate Tapan Kumar Pramanik talks to Seth on Alok Raj’s phone: Yes, sir.… I have been assigned to stay with them... yes of course, we are all with them.… We have been with them throughout... yes... of course you can take my word for it.
AR to Pramanik: The media are watching. I don’t know why he’s doing this.