Jhargram/Burdwan: More than three years after the Netai massacre in which CPI(M) men allegedly fired upon villagers killing nine persons in West Midnapore district, the police arrested the main accused Anuj Pandey from Jharkhand, the CID said on Wednesday.
Pandey, CPI(M)`s former Binpur zonal committee secretary, was arrested from Chandrapura in Bokaro district yesterday, CID Special Superintendent Bharati Ghosh said.
Asked whether he had any connection with CPI(Maoist), she repeated that Pandey was hiding in Maoist dominated areas of the neighbouring state.
Nine persons were killed in indiscriminate firing allegedly from CPI(M) leader Rathin Dandapat`s house at Netai where villagers distributed sweets today after hearing the news of Pandey`s arrest.
Five more accused in the case, all local CPI(M) leaders, were arrested from Hyderabad on April 30.
The five -- Dalim Pandey (Anuj`s cousin), Rathin Dandapat, Joydeb Giri, Tapan De and Md Khaliluddin -- are currently in jail custody.
Ghosh said Pandey and other arrested persons would be handed over to the CBI which is investigating the case.
Of the 20 accused in the case, 18 were arrested while two, Fullara Mandal and Chandi Karan, are still absconding.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI inquiry into the massacre in February 2011, expressing dissatisfaction with a CID probe then. The then Left Front government`s appeal against the order was turned down by the Supreme Court.
Ghosh said the CBI had sought the state police`s assistance on some occasions in connection with the case.
CPI(M) politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, during whose Chief Ministership the massacre took place, had said at a rally in Midnapore town in February regretted the incident, saying "incidents like Netai are wrong. Our boys had done wrong at Netai."