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Panel seeks report on Kakoli remark

The state human rights commission on Wednesday ordered the city police commissioner to file an affidavit on Trinamul Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar’s disparaging remarks on the Park Street rape victim and submit TV footage of her statement.

“The commissioner of police (Ranjit Pachnanda) is directed to file the report, along with footage of the news item containing the statements of the MP, by three weeks,” the commission stated in a suo motu order.

Responding to a question on the CNN-IBN channel, the Barasat MP had said: “If you are referring to the Park Street case, see, that is a different case altogether. That was not at all a rape case, it was a misunderstanding between two parties involved in a professional dealing between a lady and a client. This was not a rape.”

Several hours after the TV statement, Kakoli, a doctor, told The Telegraph that she stood by what the chief minister had said. “I stand by what the chief minister had said. Whatever the chief minister had said was on the basis of the investigation and the police report. I have to stand by what the official report was.”

The victim raised questions about the impartiality of the investigation and the trial of the case, pending in a city subordinate court.

“When an MP of a party that is ruling the state makes such a statement, impartial trial is not possible,” she said.

Former Supreme Court judge Ashok Ganguly, the chairman of the state rights panel, said: “The commission has issued an order asking the CP to file the report. The commission has also asked the CP to collect the footage of the news item from the media and submit it within three weeks.”

The commission had issued a similar order after CPM legislator Anisur Rahman made derogatory remarks about chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

According to legal experts, the victim’s fear is not unfounded. One of them said: “The state government looks after the service issues of the judges in subordinate courts. The government appoints them, fixes their salaries and decides on their transfers. So the victim’s apprehension cannot be brushed away.”

The commission had earlier recommended Rs 50,000 compensation and action against the cops who had arrested and detained overnight JU professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his septuagenarian neighbour for circulating an Internet joke lampooning the chief minister. But the government has done nothing yet.

“The state government is not bound to carry out the orders or recommendations of the rights commission but generally states respect such orders,” advocate Jayanta Nararyan Chatterjee said on Wednesday. He added that it was mandatory for the police chief to file the report the commission had asked for.

The commission also has the power to ask the MP to appear before it and clarify her statement, said Chatterjee.