A day before the announcement of Lok Sabha election results, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Barrackpore Arjun Singh got a reprieve from the Supreme Court in the cases registered against him by the West Bengal police.
Singh, a former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader who switched to the BJP earlier this year, was granted protection from arrest for five days by the apex court.
Hearing Singh’s petition, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah granted the BJP leader reprieve in all the cases registered against him.
According to ANI, the Bench observed that violence has become common in West Bengal and some people fight for no issue.
Reports say that Singh claimed in his plea that the West Bengal police had implicated him falsely and that he was being prevented from being present during counting of votes on Thursday.
Quoting senior lawyer Ranjeet Mishra, ANI reported that he told the SC that “Singh feared arrest and was seeking direction for relief in the cases”.
Singh’s plea was heard at 12.30 pm.
A major post-poll violence erupted in Bengal’s Bhatpara, an assembly constituency under Barrackpore, where pitched battles were fought between TMC and BJP leaders for over two days.
Bhatpara assembly constituency witnessed by-poll for the seat in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on 19 May, the day of the last phase of Lok Sabha elections.
Arjun Singh’s son, Pawan, is contesting from this seat on a BJP ticket. Saradha scam accused Madan Mitra is TMC’s candidate from the same seat.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code barring assembly of more than four people in an area was imposed on Tuesday.
Both TMC and BJP accused each other of carrying out the violence.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh and other party leaders called on Governor KN Tripathi and alleged that the state administration was “unwilling” to resolve the violence.
“The violence has been taking place in front of senior police officers. So I feel the administration is unwilling to stop the problem. Ahead of their defeat in the elections, State government is creating such an atmosphere and is trying to portray that only they can maintain peace here,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Ghosh said they have requested the Governor to inform the Election Commission and the union Home Ministry about the state’s situation, apprehending more rounds of violence after May 23 (vote counting day).
Reports say that the police have arrested over 60 people.
TMC leader Derek O’Brien had accused the BJP of indulging in violence in Bhatpara while claiming that Singh’s goons had attacked a TMC candidate.
O’Brien reportedly said that Arjun Singh’s “goons hurled bombs and even attacked Mitra”.
Earlier this month, Singh had accused TMC workers of assaulting him.