Alleging involvement in a suicide case, police in South Dinajpur Monday night arrested the district president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Suvendu Sarkar.

The Banshihari police, with assistance from the Balurghat police, picked up Mr Sarkar on the basis of an FIR filed by one Pradip Majumdar on 5 June, where Mr Sarkar and some other BJP district leaders have been charged with mentally torturing a female BJP leader.

It is learnt that Mr Majumdar, a resident of Buniadpur and the husband of the vice-president of the district women wing of the BJP, Mousumi Majumdar, had lodged the FIR with the Banshihari police station after his wife committed suicide. Mrs Majumdar was earlier a BJP candidate in the Buniadpur municipality elections last year and she represented Ward No-2.

According to Mr Majumdar, his wife committed suicide after suffering from mental torture at the hands of district leaders of the BJP. Mr Majumdar also claimed that his wife had even filed an FIR against the district president for misbehaving with her.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarkar was produced in the Gangarampur court today in Buniadpur, and sent in three days’ police custody. The youth front of the BJP protested the arrest and demonstrated and blocked National Highway- 512 in different parts in the district.

A number of such demonstrations launched by the district youth wings of the BJP were seen in Harirampur, Gangarampur, Tapan and Balurghat. “Mr Sarkar had appealed for anticipatory bail from the high court. However, the court rejected his appeal and the Banshihari police arrested him on Monday midnight,” sources said.

BJP youth president in the district Avishek Sengupta condemned the “attitude” of the district police. “The case is still pending in the high court. Protesting against the activities of the police, our district leaders have demonstrated in six places. Our leader is absolutely innocent. Police in South Dinajpur are working on instructions from Member of Parliament (and Trinamul Congress leader) Arpita Ghosh. Let them try. The BJP will come up with a bigger strength in the future,” he said.

The assistant secretary of the BJP, Manash Sarkar, said the TMC had been playing ‘dirty tricks’ to tackle the party’s growing popularity. “However, regardless of their tricks, day by day we will strengthen our organisational power. Suvendu Sarkar is innocent and that will be proven in the court. We will wait for the verdict of the court and then plan for our future movements,” he said.

Superintendent of Police Prasun Banerjee confirmed the arrest made by the Banshihari police. “Investigations are going on regarding the case. The honorable court has sent him in three days’ police custody,” he said.