By Basudeb Pal
The arrest of Dilip Banerjee, known as hathkata Dilip (one hand chopped off from the wrist) from the house of a well-known footballer, Sasthi Duley of East Bengal has exposed many things.
Sasthi Duley was born and brought up in a poor family in a village of Haripal, district Hooghly. Being a Super Division footballer, he earned a lot of money and became habituated to living lavishly, often beyond the limit. At the same time he developed connections with many leaders of the ruling party (CPI-M).
It is reported that Subash Chakraborty has many anti-social elements in his grip and is the manager-master of polling booths during elections. Chakraborty denies such allegations while the common people believe that he has the blessings of Chakraborty, the heavyweight leader of CPI(M) and former Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu.
On August 15, this year, the same police officer raided the Merlin Park hotel-cum-bar owned by Avtar Singh (husband of CPI(M) Member of Parliament and athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, who was elected from Krishnagar parliamentary constituency) to arrest Dilip Banerjee on receiving definite information. Anyhow, Dilip succeeded to escape but the police unearthed a sleaze racket being run by Avtar Singh there. The police arrested him. It happened on August 15, 2004. At that time Subash Chakraborty had openly critised the role of police while Buddhadev Bhattacharya, Chief Minister-cum-Home Minister of West Bengal, had supported the police action and commented that the police would arrest Dilip as early as possible. Well-informed citizens believe that a tussle is going on between the Chief Minister and Subash Chakraborty and the top leadership of the state CPI(M).
Sasthi’s elder brother, Salil, told reporters that his brother was bound to give shelter as he had been directed by Minister Subash Chakraborty. Another cousin, Sanatan Das, also told the same thing to this reporter. Sasthi is in a terrible state and is confined to the East Bengal Club tent. He laments that his high-level connections have not matched his luck.
Dilip was brought to Sasthi’s house by Dipankar Roy, another footballer of the same club. Sasthi’s home was like that of a poor villager. But within a short time it changed into a three-storey structure.
Baisakhi Banerjee, Dilip’s wife (a karate teacher), has said that in every election Dilip worked for the CPI(M) including the last parliament and municipal elections. If the police promised to protect Dilip’s security, she was willing to disclose the names of many big guns.