Former Leader of the Opposition and Congress veteran Gopal Chandra Roy was booked Sunday for using the national emblem in the letterhead he used to file a police complaint accusing Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb of misinformation around coronavirus.
In his complaint, addressed to the New Capital Complex (NCC) Police Station in Agartala on Saturday, Roy claimed the chief minister told the press on April 2 that 19 coronavirus cases were found in Manipur and 16 at Karimganj in Assam. Roy said as on that day only one case was identified in Karimganj and two in Manipur. He sought ‘appropriate action’ against Deb for allegedly “spreading fake information”. Roy’s complaint was also marked to the office of West Tripura Superintendent of Police.
“We are enquiring into the issue. Such complaints require permission from the magistrate. Since it is Sunday today, we shall seek permission tomorrow,” officer in-charge of NCC Police Station, Subimal Barman, told indianexpress.com. The complaint has not been registered yet, the official said.
A day after Roy’s complaint, advocate Arabinda Deb filed a case accusing Roy of document forgery and criminal conspiracy to malign the Chief Minister. Deb claimed the letterhead Roy used has “the state emblem of India illegally with an intention to harm the reputation of our honourable Chief Minister Shri Biplab Kumar Deb”. Calling this “forgery with harm of injury and reputation” of the CM, the advocate claimed Roy “has submitted such false allegation in consequence of a criminal conspiracy with others”.
Officer Barman said cognizable charges were leveled against the former legislator today as per the new complaint.
Meanwhile, a large posse of police personnel guarded Roy’s residence since Sunday afternoon and state Congress chief Pijush Kanti Biswas and others were not allowed to visit the leader. Later, Roy shouted to mediapersons that the searched his building without a warrant. “This is all because I filed a complaint against the Chief Minister. The police attacked my house. They are conspiring to murder me. I shall seek justice about this in the High Court,” he said.
Biswas too criticised the police action, and asked: “I am not only a politician but a lawyer as well. On what grounds did they not allow a lawyer to go inside? This is severe infringement of personal rights and liberty.” He also said the charges slapped against Gopal were not severe since they can incur a maximum of two years sentence and Rs 5,000 fine.
BJP spokesperson Dr Ashok Sinha said law will take its own course regarding the complaints. He said the Chief Minister’s comment was a typo. “The entire country is fighting with coronavirus today. Raising it is a silly issue and an attempt to play politics. Nobody will like it. Anybody has the right to file a complaint. But this is a cheap trick.”
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