Two days after Tripura Police booked 23 members of poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) during a visit to conduct a survey in the state, the West Tripura District and Sessions Court on Thursday granted them unconditional anticipatory bail.
Senior advocate Pijush Kanti Biswas, who represented the I-PAC members in court, told the media that they were illegally detained for three days before they were booked in a case with charges inapplicable on them.
Meanwhile, senior Trinamool Congress leader and party’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien arrived in Agartala on Thursday and said the I-PAC members were “hired by Trinamool Congress and they came here to do their professional duty”. But, O’Brien alleged, they were detained in Agartala on orders of the BJP’s central leadership.
“They (BJP central leadership) are trying to impose the Gujarat model across the country,” he told the media.
The I-PAC team has been camping in Agartala to assess the political situation and TMC’s potential support in the state. The police detained them in a hotel citing Covid-19 norms on Sunday night. Their Covid reports came negative on Tuesday night.
Biswas, who is also president of the state Congress unit, said the I-PAC members were booked under the National Disaster Management Act and preventive sections for Covid-19 along with IPC Section 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant).
He said: “The public prosecutor appealed for denial of bail. When the court decided to grant bail, he appealed to impose some conditions on my clients. But the court agreed to our plea that no condition can be imposed on them based on the nature of the allegation made on them, and released them with unconditional anticipatory bail,” Biswas said.
Additional Public Prosecutor Bidyut Sutradhar said a complaint was filed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, against the I-PAC team, and the case was registered at East Agartala police station. “The investigating officer served them notice to meet him on August 1. There was no apprehension of arrest. But still they surrendered before the court, prayed for bail and the court granted them bail,” PTI reported Sutradhar as saying.
O’Brien, meanwhile, claimed that the BJP-led government in Tripura is scared of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee.
Abhishek is scheduled to arrive here on Friday to meet state leaders.
Asked whether TMC has a favourable political future in Tripura, O’Brien said, “Something is happening here…. I am hearing a lot of people talking about Uttarakhand and Karnataka; we are also hearing about Tripura, and that TMC is going to come here.”
Meanwhile, former BJP state unit vice-president and incumbent Congress leader Subal Bhowmik was seen meeting TMC leaders in Agartala on Thursday.