SC directs West Bengal police to not take coercive motion in opposition to BJP leaders in prison circumstances

New Delhi, December 18

The Supreme Court Friday granted interim protection from any coercive action to five BJP leaders, including Mukul Roy and MPs Kailash Vijayvargiya and Arjun Singh, in criminal cases lodged against them in West Bengal.

The relief came to two other BJP leaders—Sourav Singh and Pawan Kumar—as the apex court directed the state police not to take any coercive action till it hears their pleas next in January.

“There should not be any coercive steps in cases registered against the petitioners till next date,” said a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and sought response from the West Bengal’s Home Secretary and others.

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It was alleged by the lawyers, appearing for BJP leaders, that criminal cases are being foisted on party leaders at the instance of ruling All India Trinamool Congress Party.

All the leaders have filed separate pleas seeking protection in cases lodged against them in the state and alleged that criminal cases have been foisted against them to deter them from undertaking political activities in the state ahead of assembly polls.

The bench also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, which heard the matter through video conferencing, posted the batch of pleas for further hearing in the second week of January.       

The BJP leaders have also sought investigation by an independent agency into the cases registered against them in West Bengal.

The bench, dealing with the sixth petition filed by West Bengal BJP leader Kabir Shankar Bose, sought a report in a sealed cover from the CISF on an alleged scuffle between the TMC workers and his security staff.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for Bose, said the leader was assaulted and attacked while travelling in the state despite having CISF protection and besides this, a criminal case was lodged against him.

During the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Arjun Singh, said that as many as 64 criminal cases have been filed against him in 2019 after he had joined Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leaving Trinamool Congress party.

“I am an MP and these cases have been filed after I left TMC,” Rohatgi said, adding, “The first case against Arjun Singh was registered on March 24, 2019 after he left the TMC”.

Vijayvargiya’s counsel told the bench that the BJP leader is an MP from Madhya Pradesh and false cases have been lodged against him in West Bengal.

“I am an MP from Madhya Pradesh and just because I am going to West Bengal for party works, false cases have been filed against me,” Vijayvargiya’s counsel said.

Arjun Singh’s plea said “Initiation of 64 criminal cases against the petitioner (Arjun Singh), immediately upon him leaving the membership of TMC in March 2019, to join the BJP is glaring example as to how the state machineries and the criminal justice system are being misused in furtherance of the political vendetta that a political party (TMC) has against the petitioner.”         The plea said that “the degree of animosity”, can be be easily be gauged as many as 11 to 12 cases have been instituted against Arjun Singh in one month and “with a view to multiply the number of criminal cases against the petitioner multiple FIRs have been lodged in relation to same cause of action.”  Arjun Singh, a member of 17th Lok Sabha and one of the Vice-Presidents of the West Bengal unit of BJP since June 1, 2020, also alleged that his house has also been attacked with bombs and his car was also damaged by a TMC worker who threw stones, a bomb and bricks.

He has made the state government, the All India Trinamool Congress, state’s DGP, CBI and Union Ministry of Home Affairs as parties to his plea.

“The plea seeks an order directing the transfer of investigation of all cases annexed to the petition to an investigating agency not within the control of the Respondent number 1 to 3 (West Bengal and its police)  in as much as the criminal proceedings instituted against the petitioner are manifestly attended with malafides and has been maliciously instituted at the instituted at the instance of the Respondent number 2 (TMC) with an ulterior motive of wrecking vengeance on the petitioner and with a view to spite him and harass him,” Singh said in the plea. 

Pleas on similar lines have been filed by others as well. — PTI

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