Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered West Bengal CID to start an investigation on the remarks made by Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul in his constituency and submit a report to the court.
The court also asked police to register an FIR on this case within 72 hours.
On June 29, at Choumaha village under his constituency Krishnanagar in Nadia district, Paul addressed a party workers’ meeting during which he threatened to finish all CPM members who took on TMC people. He also said he would send his men to rape their girls.
The order, passed by Justice Deepankar Dutta, also said that West Bengal DGP G M P Reddy would have to monitor the investigation conducted by DIG, CID, who would submit an interim report before the High Court by September 1. The order was passed on the basis of two petitions filed by advocates Shamit Sanyal and Biplab Chaudhury, seeking criminal proceedings against the MP who was caught on tape exhorting people at a workers’ meeting in Choumaha village to kill CPI-M activists and rape their women.
It may be recalled that Paul’s speech was recorded on mobile phones by local residents and later converted into a CD, which was handed over to a Bengali news channel.
“The court said that since the comments were made by an MP who was earlier a film actor and had considerable bearing in the society, the case could be heard by the court. It ordered that the application made by Chaudhury at Nakashipara police station under which Choumaha village falls, should be treated as an FIR and investigation should be started. It also gave petitioner Shamit Sanyal the liberty to file a separate PIL on this,’’ Debashish Saha, counsel for Sanyal told The Indian Express. The judge questioned how an elected MP could make such comments.
The legal fraternity hailed the judgment. Senior advocate Bikash Bhattacharya said the police should now act and establish the rule of law above everything else.
While Tapas Paul, who had said on Sunday that he was repentant for the whole episode, could not be reached as his phone was switched off, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said: “I have no idea what happened at court. I was busy elsewhere.”
On Sunday, Paul had also said he was not going to attend Parliament this session as his doctors had advised him to take rest.
Trinamool refuses to comment
Ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on Monday declined to comment on the Calcutta High Court order of filing an FIR against party MP Tapas Pal for his controversial comments against women and its direction that the CID probe the matter.
“No, I will not comment anything without seeing the order,” TMC all-India general secretary Mukul Roy said.
The state BJP, on the other hand, welcomed the High Court order.
“We welcome the High Court order. We are grateful to the court for the order,” state BJP leader Tathagata Roy said.
CPM central committee member Suryakanta Mishra said: “I hope that according to the court order the complaint would be treated as an FIR. I think he (Pal) should be arrested.”
Justice Dipankar Dutta, passing the verdict on a petition seeking CID investigation into Pal’s comments against women and other opposition party supporters at election rallies, directed that the high court would monitor the probe in view of state government’s stand that the complaint did not disclose any cognisable offence and that the state tried to back the MP.
Paul’s comments had spurred countrywide opprobrium, with many seeking his arrest and expulsion from Parliament. The Trinamool Congress, however, had sought to end the matter with an apology from the MP to his party. (With PTI inputs)