Tripura Police Monday arrested a first-year college student from Sabroom, South Tripura district for allegedly defaming Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on social media. Police said he was also accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy against Deb.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Arindam Nath said Bishal Sinha shared a post with ‘abusive language’ against the chief minister on WhatsApp and tried to conspire against him. A general diary entry was lodged at Sabroom police station based on a tip-off. Upon subsequent investigation, police arrested Sinha, a student at Michael Madhushudan Dutta Government Degree College at Sabroom.
“We have him under custody. He will be produced before the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate’s court today,” DIG Nath said. Asked about preliminary investigation results, the official said that the accused has denied the allegations.
“He claimed he had lost his his SIM card 10-15 days back. However, there is no formal complaint with the police about the loss and we suspect he is not telling the truth,” the official said.
Sinha has been charged with public obscenity, provocation to commit crime, intentional insult to provoke breach of peace, defamation, criminal conspiracy under sections 294, 504, 500, 506, 120 (b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67 (b) of the IT Act.
The issue was first brought to attention of law enforcement agencies by the IT cell of a political party. Though Bishal’s social media post could not be accessed, sources said it was about the chief minister’s reactions to revised public healthcare tariff rates.
Via a notification issued by Department of Health and Family Welfare on September 6, revised tariff rates would need APL and priority group consumers to pay Rs. 20 and Rs. 10 for registration of Out Patient Department (OPD) and Rs. 30 and Rs. 20 for admission in hospital beds respectively.
The notification also prices ICU beds at Rs. 300 for Antodaya Annapurna Yojana (AAY) beneficiaries, Rs. 300 for priority group consumers and at Rs. 600 for people above the poverty level per day.
Moreover, hospital diet, which was provided free to all patients and relatives till now, would be charged at Rs. 50 per day for APL consumers. Charges for diagnostic tests, bio-chemistry, pathology, micro-pathology, radio-diagnosis and other medical investigations were revised as well.
Deb, who also holds the health portfolio, later clarified that the notification had some errors and was being rectified. Only APL beneficiaries would face hiked charges and AAY, BPL Priority Group families would continue to pay reduced healthcare tariff rates, he had said.