Sunil Deodhar is widely touted as the architect behind BJP’s win in the recent Tripura elections. He has been a man on a mission over the past three years since he was made the ‘prabhari’ of Tripura by BJP president Amit Shah in November 2014. Today, Deodhar took to Twitter to give a rather odd advice to the new CM of Tripura.
Deodhar said that the CM Biplab Kumar Deb should get all the septic tanks of all the ministers’ quarters cleaned, before moving in. The suggestion might seem odd, but he backed it up with an astounding claim: He said that this was necessary since, in January 2005, a woman’s skeleton was found in the septic tank of then CM Manik Sarkar’s quarter! He also claimed that the case had been suppressed.
The allegation seems to be true. There are a few media reports from that period, which document this shocking incident. Skeletal remains including the skull and nine bones of the shin, forearms and ribs were found in a tank connected to a toilet close to the house meant for security personnel and other members of the chief minister’s staff, inside the CM’s official residence. The discovery was made when the tank was being cleaned by workers of the Agartala Municipal Council.
The incident had shocked the locals in Tripura and the report suggests that the CM had initially constituted a CID probe, and eventually handed over the case to the CBI. The media report also quotes a source in a lab who said that prima facie the skeleton could of a rape victim.
Later, the local Congress President Samir Ranjan Barman claimed that skeletal remains recovered from the septic tank of the chief minister’s residence was that of Rina Thapa, who was aged between 13 and 17. He claimed that his contention was based on documents he had received from the CID and the forensic laboratory in Chandigarh. Barman added that the Nepali girl’s parents had been forced to leave Tripura following her killing.
He also asserted that the girl had been killed between December 29, 2000, and January 4, 2005, a period when Sarkar was the occupant of the official residence. He claimed that the tank was last cleaned on December 29, 2000, and there was nothing found in it then, hence the crime had occurred post that date. Manik Sarkar had stayed in that residence since 1998.
Author Dinesh Kanji, in his book on Manik Sarkar, claimed that Barman’s claims were taken lightly by the media as they were not convinced of his integrity. It is surprising that such a ghastly news from a ruling CM’s house, never made it to the prime-time debates of Indian television. Nor is this story popular enough in the minds of the Indian electorate. No doubt, if the same story had emerged from the house a BJP CM, it would have been hung around his head for his whole life.