A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee was slapped at a party function, Debashish Acharya, the 25-year-old who slapped him, was on Monday charged with attempt to murder and other sections of the IPC. Those who caught hold of Acharya and thrashed him have been charged with relatively milder sections.
According to the police, the youth had links with “Hindu rightist organisations”. “We have proof that the attacker was attracted to Hindu rightist organisations like RSS and ABVP and we are investigating that angle,” Anuj Sharma, IG Law and Order, said.
“We have also got to know that a few days before the attack, a meeting was held at Sreerupa cinema at Chandipur, which was attended by ABVP and RSS activists,” Sharma said.
Sharing details of Acharya’s interrogation, Sukesh Jain, SP, Midnapore (East), said, “Acharya said that he was in touch with RSS and ABVP activists of the area and that previously, he had held a portfolio with the ABVP. We are verifying that information.” He added that Acharya was living on rent in a house owned by an RSS activist, Tamal Pallab Biswas, who had also been called in for questioning.
An FIR has been filed against Acharya and a case has been lodged under IPC sections 447 (criminal trespass), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 307 (attempt to murder), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), an official said.
Another case was lodged against unidentified persons for beating up Acharya and mediapersons under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
However, senior lawyer Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya said, “It was rather an attempt to murder Acharya.”
“If it was an unlawful assembly, then Abhishek’s meeting was unlawful,” High Court lawyer Arunava Ghosh said.
Dr Tridibesh Banerjee, who was treating Acharya at East Midnapore District Hospital, said, “Acharya said he had taken admission at an engineering college in Durgapur but left it after a couple of months and had been wandering with sadhus.”
Hospital superintendent Dr Gopal Das said Acharya’s condition was stable. “He was admitted with multiple external injuries. He was bleeding from his nose. There were no broken bones or internal haemorrhage,” said Dr Das.
Police also said that Acharya used to share his room with another RSS activist, Surajit Bera, who is allegedly absconding.
Meanwhile, the two-storey house in Tamluk where his parents used to stay remained locked on Monday. From outside the window, one could see a flex board with TMC MP from Tamluk Suvendu Adhikary’s photograph. “His father is a TMC supporter while Acharya is an RSS supporter,” said Kamal Majumder, a neighbour.
Adhikary called it a shocking incident and added, “Police should investigate properly and book all offenders.”
However, district leadership of the BJP, RSS and ABVP denied any links with Acharya.
Tapan Kar, district BJP president, said, “The function was held at Adhikary’s home ground but his picture was not on the hoardings, nor was his name mentioned during speeches by TMC leaders. His absence from the meeting indicated internal problems. Now they are trying to shift the blame onto the BJP.”
Prakash Ranjan Mondal, RSS general secretary from Tamluk, said, “Biswas is a volunteer with the RSS, but how was he supposed to know about what his tenant was doing… If Biswas’s connection is proved, a decision would be taken on whether is allowed to continue as an RSS activist.”
Subir Halder, ABVP state secretary, said, “We condemn the incident. ABVP has nothing to do with Acharya. The TMC is trying to gain people’s sympathy because they have seen that in recent times, students from TMCP are defecting to ABVP.”