India Post blamed for delayed letter to Bhattacharjee

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NEW DELHI - India Post is to blame for the delayed delivery of a missive from Home Minister P. Chidambaram that reached West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, days after the media got hold of it, the home ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry was reacting to criticism from the West Bengal government, which wanted to know how the media became aware of Chidambaram’s letter on “armed camps” the ruling Marxists had supposedly set up to take on the Maoists in the state.

The ministry said the letter to the chief minister was sent by Speed Post Dec 22. It reached Kolkata two days later at 6 a.m.

“The letter should, therefore, have been delivered (that day) which was a working day,” it said in a statement.

Since Dec 25 and 26 were holidays, Bhattacharjee got the letter only on Dec 27.

“Alok Sharma, General Manager, India Post, has apologised for the delay in the delivery of the article,” it said.

Chidambaram had in his letter had said that complaints received by the central government indicated that armed cadres of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) were deployed covertly under the guise of ‘village protection groups’ to guard against Maoist attacks.

“There is evidence to show that the camps are mostly located in CPI-M offices and those of local cadres. It is a matter of grave concern that these cadres have been provided with firearms,” he had said.

The CPI-M alleged that the letter — and its leakage to the media — was meant to boost the Trinamool Congress, the main opposition party in West Bengal.

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