Arrested for remarks against Mamata, Cong leader gets bail

Bagchi referred to book, which reportedly had some references about CM’s personal life 

Arrested for remarks against Mamata, Cong leader gets bail

Calcutta High court. Representation Image (File Photo)

Calcutta High Court counsel and Congress leader Koustav Bagchi, who was arrested by Kolkata Police on Saturday morning for allegedly making derogatory remarks against West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, was granted bail by a lower court on the same day.

Senior advocate of Calcutta High Court and CPM Rajya Sabha member Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya, who appeared as Bagchi’s counsel, made a strong argument on behalf of his client.

“Is my client a terrorist? Who gave the right to the police to barge into his residence in the wee hours at around 3 am? There is directive even from the Supreme Court barring police from barging into anyone’s residence in the wee hours or late in the night. The arrest was made without serving any notice under Section 41A of CrPC. This is an infringement on the fundamental rights of a person,” Bhattacharya argued.


He also said that the investigating officer in the case should be slapped with a show-cause notice for issuing the notice under Section 41A.

“We as legal practitioners are highly terrified. How can the police barge into the residence of a lawyer during the wee hours in a democratic country? Was that residence owned by a terrorist,” Bhattacharya questioned.

In his counter-argument, the public prosecutor said that some comments by Bagchi could trigger violence, which needs to be investigated.

After hearing both sides, the court granted bail to Bagchi against a personal bond of Rs 1,000.Even the Bharatiya Janata Party, though its legal cell condemned the arrest. “The arrest of Sri Kaustav Bagchi reminds us of the horrors of Emergency that was once unleashed in India and the horrible dangers of post poll violence and this marks another low for freedom of speech and expression in West Bengal, where the government has created a hostile and unsafe environment for the citizens.”

“The BJP Legal Department strongly condemns the colourable exercise of power and police excesses by the State machinery in yesterday’s late night arrest of Sri Bagchi.”

After the results of the bypoll to the Sagardighi Assembly constituency in Murshidabad district was announced on Thursday, in which Left-backed Congress candidate Baryon Biswas trounced Trinamul Congress nominee Debasish Bandopadhyay by 23,000 votes.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had launched a scathing attack against state Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, referring to his daughter’s suicide in 2006.

On Friday, Bagchi held a press conference where he referred to a book written by former IAS officer Deepak Kumar Ghosh, which reportedly has some references about the personal life of the chief minister.

Bagchi said that since Banerjee has started making personal attacks by referring to the suicide of Chowdhury’s daughter, he would now counter them by circulating soft copies of Ghosh’s book through WhatsApp. The arrest evoked strong criticism from all corners, including from within the Trinamul Congress.