The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed status quo be maintained on election to the post of chairman of Kandi Municipality in view of alleged abduction of Left-backed Independent councillor Debojyoti Roy.
Justice Indraprasanna Mukherjee directed that status quo be maintained till disposal of a petition challenging the process in view of the alleged abduction of Roy, whose vote would have played a pivotal role in the election to the post of chairman.
A petition has challenged the ruling Trinamool Congress’ move seeking re-election in the chairman’s post. Till it is decided, the ruling party would not be able to elect the chairman for Kandi Municipality in Murshidabad district.
On Thursday, Justice Mukherjee directed the SP of Murshidabad district to file a status report by March 3 regarding the alleged abduction and to find out whether Roy had himself restrained from voting or somebody had detained him with the purpose of not allowing him to vote. The court warned that if police negligence was proved, the case might be handed over to the CBI. It will hear the matter again on March 3.
Roy was allegedly abducted by ruling Trinamool Congress workers on February 16 – three days ahead of a no trust vote against the civic body’s chairman Apoorba Sarkar, belonging to the Congress. Last Friday, Roy’s absence during the no-confidence vote at Kandi Municipality had allowed the Trinamool to wrest control of the civic board from the Congress. He would have played a pivotal role – with the Left and Trinamool being evenly poised at eight members each – in the no trust motion if he had managed to vote last Saturday.
Last year, Congress had managed to secure 13 out of the 18 wards in Kandi. While Trinamool had won three, Left-backed Independent candidates had emerged victorious in two wards. To get control of the civic board, the Trinamool had allegedly engineered the defection of six out of the 13 Congress councillors and then passed a no trust motion against Sarkar. Debojyoti and his wife Santana Roy had agreed to lend their support to Congress, which would have led to a tie.
Santana Roy had filed a police complaint regarding her husband’s alleged abduction and later also approached the Calcutta High Court while complaining of police apathy. The Congres had also moved the high court, praying for a fresh round of voting.
Lawyer Joydeep Kar said they would get the requisite papers to prove that Trinamool Congress had won the election in a free and fair manner.