Kolkata: A West Bengal police officer has been arrested for allegedly smuggling out 18 firearms from a police station in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal district.
The accused, Tarapada Tudu, posted as sub-inspector (SI) at the Jamboni police station in West Midnapore, was caught by the Jhargram district police on Wednesday. He has been suspended and a departmental inquiry has been initiated against him. Tudu is a native of Purulia.
Three more persons including Lakshmiram Rana, a national volunteer force member, were also arrested. From July 6, 2018, Tudu was posted at the Lalgarh police station, where Rana was also posted, according to sources. He was responsible for guarding the armoury as well as seized firearms, sources added.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the police had seized a cache of firearms from various operations during the Maoists’ rise in Jangalmahal districts since 2008 during the Communist regime.
After he was transferred on June 27, 2019, as many as 18 firearms were found missing from Maalkhana. Tudu’s successor Biswajit Panja discovered the theft and alerted Arindam Bhattachaya, the officer-in-charge of the police station.
The district police initiated a case of theft and also set up a special team which launched a probe leading to the arrest of two villagers — Dilip Senapati and his father Sudhangshu of Binpur — who used to receive the stolen firearms from Rana.
The NVF member was nabbed and based on his confession, Tudu was arrested.
The four accused were produced at the court which remanded them to five days in police custody.