The Calcutta High Court on Monday gave MP Soumitra Khan, who had recently joined the BJP after quitting Trinamool Congress, interim protection from arrest for four weeks in connection with cases of allegedly taking money on the promise of giving jobs.
Hearing an application by the Bishnupur MP for anticipatory bail in connection with the cases, a division bench headed by Justice Joymalya Bagchi directed Khan not to enter the jurisdiction of Bankura district till further order.
In complaints lodged with Barjora police station in Bankura district, three persons had alleged that Khan had taken money from them in 2018 on the promise of securing them government jobs.
They claimed that they had not been given jobs despite having paid money to the MP.
Praying for anticipatory bail to Khan, his lawyers Sandipan Ganguly and Suvasish Dasgupta submitted that the complaints were false and motivated and that the MP was a victim of political vendetta.
They told the division bench, also comprising Justice M Mandal, that the criminal cases were lodged on January 10, 2019, a day after he joined the BJP after quitting TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal.
Public prosecutor Saswata Gopal Mukherjee opposed the anticipatory bail prayer of Khan stating that there were written complaints of three persons who were allegedly duped, along with statements by two independent witnesses.
He submitted that since the investigation was at a preliminary stage with the complaints having been lodged on January 10, granting anticipatory bail would hamper the probe.
After hearing both the parties, the court granted Khan interim protection from arrest for four weeks and posted the matter for March 19.
The bench also directed him not to enter the jurisdiction of Bankura district other than the purpose of investigation or for appearance in local courts.