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Release after charge revise

Raiganj, Aug. 22: The 21 employees, who had been remanded in judicial custody for allegedly assaulting an additional district magistrate (ADM) of North Dinajpur, were granted bail today.

The chief judicial magistrate here has approved the bail petitions after police, who had earlier slapped Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (attempt to murder), withdrew the charge and replaced it with Section 303 for causing simple injury to the ADM, Amitabh Maitra. The members of the Congress-backed State Government Employees’ Federation were released from the jail after depositing a personal bond of Rs 300. The chief judicial magistrate has fixed August 28 for the next hearing.

The WBCS Executive Officers’ Association had filed a complaint with the district magistrate alleging that the ADM in-charge of the land and land reforms department had suffered serious injuries on his head in the attack on August 19 and he needed stitches.

But Maitra attended the office yesterday — less than 48 hours after he had been assaulted — and said the injury he had suffered was not that serious. This prompted the employees’ union and other right-wing parties to form a unified platform and call a district-wide movement to protest against the unjust charges being brought against the arrested.

Sources in the district administration said faced with an intensified movement, the authorities sent a message across to the Federation that the government wanted to tone down the charges. Following this, two women members of the Federation, who were also arrested, withdrew their FIR against the ADM last evening. They had accused Maitra of misbehaving with them.

The state president of the federation, Subrata Chaki, said over the phone from Calcutta that he had met the chief secretary, Amit Kiran Deb, at Writers’ Buildings yesterday and told him as to how the Raiganj district administration and the police had distorted the case.

The district magistrate, Sukumar Bhattacharyya, said he had heard that the arrested persons had been granted bail. “The police had made inquiries and framed charges based on the information they had received. The law will take its own course.”

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