A day after the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) asked the police to arrest BJP candidate from Diamond Harbour constituency, Nilanjan Roy, in a case of alleged molestation of a minor, the BJP leader on Saturday called it “baseless” and accused the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of framing him.
A local resident who had drafted the police complaint for the victim, meanwhile, maintained that Roy had harassed and misbehaved with her during a campaign tour of the village — Beliadanga, in the interiors of West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district.
But some local residents claimed that he is politically active, and that his father is known to be close to the TMC.
Officers tasked with the probe said they are verifying the allegations before the accused is arrested. A police source said any immediate action may trigger clashes.
Pointing out that the case is two weeks old, Diamond Harbour’s Superintendent of Police Srihari Pandey said, “The FIR has been filed; we have recorded the victim’s statement. Medical examination of the girl has been conducted, and investigation is proceeding.”
On a visit to Beliadanga, The Sunday Express found the victim and her family members were not in the village.
Calling it a “fake and baseless allegation”, Roy told The Sunday Express, “It is extremely disappointing to see people stooping to this level. The TMC has done this to malign my image before the election.”
Asked whether he had met the victim, Roy said, “I campaign in so many areas every day and meet thousands of
people. It is impossible to recall offhand.” The man who drafted the complaint letter alleged that the victim was being threatened by the BJP after sharing and a post on triple talaq on Facebook. “When BJP candidate Nilanjan Roy came here for campaigning, she decided to meet and inform him (about the alleged threats). During the public meeting, she was harassed; he (Roy) misbehaved with her. I was waiting outside. She came out and told me everything. I told my father about it and also discussed with a few other villagers. They suggested we lodge a complaint,” he said.
Asked why the girl or her family did not file the complaint, he said, “Her father is not educated, and we did not want the girl to get involved in any further harassment.”
Meanwhile, Santosh Kumar, Shiv Sena candidate from the constituency who had brought the incident to WBCPCR’s notice, said, “I received the information and complaint letter from my people. Since no action was taken despite a complaint, I decided to approach WBCPCR. I have not met the family yet. That’s for the police to investigate.”
A dissident Congressman who joined BJP recently, Roy is pitted against Diamond Harbour’s sitting MP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Sena’s Kumar was earlier in BJP and left the party after Roy was named candidate.
District Congress leader Sujit Patwari said, “I know Nilanjan. It’s shocking; unprecedented that a candidate has been alleged of harassing a minor…. I can never support anyone when it comes to sexual harassment allegations; whether it’s false or true is secondary.”
Diamond Harbour goes to the polls on May 19.
According to police sources, a dispute had emerged on April 20 between the complainant’s father and some local BJP supporters over comments ostensibly made online by his minor daughter on triple talaq. On April 26, the father-daughter duo reportedly went to meet Nilanjan Roy when he came to Sri Anukul Thakur Temple at Shibanipur, near the village, in an effort to resolve the issue, when the alleged incident is said to have occurred.
A case was subsequently registered at Falta police station under IPC Section 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty of woman) and under POCSO Act.