The West Bengal Government has written to the Centre asking why the former State Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee should not be questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the police firing at Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district on March 14, 2007.

“Why should he [Mr. Bhattacharjee] not be interrogated in the connection with the firing as he was the Home Minister then?” asked a senior Minister at the State Secretariat on Friday.

According to the Minister, prior to the firing there were huge gatherings organised in the area regularly, which the police were aware of. “Did he not as the Home Minister know that there was a huge gathering there before sending the police?” he asked, adding that the police had not fired in self-defence on the day of the violence.

Eight people were killed that day, while six died in the violence that followed.

 The State Government’s attempt to involve Mr. Bhattacharjee in the CBI inquiry has evoked strong criticism from leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

“The Trinamool Congress government is trying to politicise the Nandigram violence. All the steps taken by the State government over the past one-and-a-half years since it has come to power are only aimed at serving its political purposes,” said senior CPI (M) MP Basudeb Acharya.

He said by writing such a letter the State Government was trying to interfere in the functioning of the CBI.

In another related development, the State Government has issued notices to five IPS officers asking them why action should not be taken against them for their alleged involvement. The CBI had written to the State Government to initiate action against the police officers.