Thirty-year-old Sanjeev Singh, a resident of West Bengal’s Naihati in North 24 Parganas, hails from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and mostly lives in Uttar Pradesh, sources said.

On September 26, he was arrested by police from Kolkata’s Brabourne Road for setting ablaze a West Bengal transport department-run bus, an incident in which Singh was himself injured.

It could have gone out of control and led to deaths and major injuries if local residents, fire services and police authorities hadn’t intervened immediately. A number of passengers had to be rescued as they were trapped inside the bus with flames and smoke billowing out of it.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had called a 12-hour shutdown in West Bengal on Wednesday to protest the killing of two persons in Islampur of Uttar Dinajpur district. The BJP has alleged that the two were killed in police firing. Uttar Dinajpur police superintendent Sumit Kumar however, has said police hadn’t opened fire, and the case is now being investigated by the state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Who is Sanjeev Singh and what was he doing on the bandh day?

Sanjeev Singh, whose Facebook profile picture shows him with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state secretary Dilip Ghosh, is said to be in close contact with leaders of the party in both West Bengal and in Uttar Pradesh.

Screenshot of Sanjeev Singh’s Facebook profile

 

Sources said that though he is based in Naihati, Singh mostly stays in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, he was in UP from September 4 to 24.

He reached Kolkata on the morning of September 26 in a train at Sealdah station. From there, he is said to have visited the BJP party office on Central Avenue, sources said.

Sources also said that Sanjeev Singh then participated in a rally with senior BJP leaders including one in which senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha was present.

In the afternoon, Singh went to Brabourne Road area – near the flyover, and apparently hopped into a bus. Soon, he torched the bus, in which a number of passengers got trapped.

Police and fire brigade authorities rushed to the spot along with pedestrians and helped in dousing the flames. Several passengers, including Singh, had to be rescued.

Police officers were suspicious on noticing that Singh had burn injuries on both hands. He was interrogated and taken to a state-run hospital, where he is now admitted. According to police, he has confessed to the crime and has been arrested.

The bus that was set ablaze

 

What this means

Police officers say a probe is on now. Sources say that there were others with Singh whose involvement in the incident and their other plans are now being investigated into.

The “direct” involvement of at least one middle-level state BJP leader in the incident is also being investigated, sources said, though police have not been able to talk to the person yet.

Most important, Singh’s involvement in such an incident also makes officials of the Bengal government worried about how “outsiders” like him who have strong connections in BJP-ruled states such as UP are playing a role in West Bengal to make a BJP-called bandh successful. Sources in the government say that there are more such links that need to be probed or, are perhaps being looked into already.

The BJP rally on September 26 in which Rahul Sinha and Sanjeev Singh can be seen

 

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