Sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury being shot. Picture: ABP Ananda
The public prosecutor who had opposed Mohammad “Munna” Iqbal’s bail application last Saturday has been replaced by one accused by the CPM of not opposing the bail plea of Trinamul leader Arabul Islam.
The CID announced on Wednesday that Shyamadas Ganguly had replaced Naba Kumar Ghosh as the chief public prosecutor in the Garden Reach case but didn’t explain what prompted the sudden change.
“These decisions are taken by the legal remembrance wing of the state government,” a senior CID officer said.
Law minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said Ghosh being replaced was in no way unusual. “Why do I have to give a reason?” she said. “The government has decided on a candidate it considers fit to fight such a case. That’s it.”
Ganguly, the chief public prosecutor of Alipore court since last year, was representing the state when Trinamul leader Arabul had applied for bail after his arrest for the assault on CPM leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah.
The complainant in that case, a CPM supporter, had complained in court about the prosecution not pleading for the custody of the Trinamul leader although he was allegedly responsible for setting fire to police vehicles.
“In the Arabul Islam case, we had drawn the court’s attention to at least four-five occasions when the public prosecutor did not oppose his (Arabul’s) bail prayer even though the accused was the force behind the Bhangar incident,” advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya said on Wednesday.
Bhattacharyya, a former mayor and a CPM leader, added: “Shyamadasbabu was present then and I am told he would now be the chief public prosecutor in the Garden Reach case. I have no comment on his competence. But you will notice how as a chief PP he goes timid in the Garden Reach case.”
Ganguly refused to reply to the allegations. “I don’t want to comment. It’s all there in the court papers and you can go through it,” he said. “Arabul was first in police custody and then in judicial custody. He was released on the 44th day of his arrest.”
Ganguly said Tirthankar Roy, who had assisted him in the Arabul case, would help him in the Garden Reach case too.
A lawyer who is part of the ruling Trinamul’s legal cell defended Ganguly’s appointment, citing his “decades of experience”. But even those in the CID weren’t sure why the public prosecutor had been replaced.
Ghosh, who has a high conviction rate, declined to comment on his removal. “How can I comment? I have not even received a formal letter from the CID as yet,” he told Metro on Wednesday evening.
Ghosh’s removal had been communicated to him over the phone late on Tuesday. “I would not say who called up but the phone call came from an officer at Bhabani Bhavan, the CID headquarters,” he said.
Police sources said Ghosh had been the public prosecutor in several high-profile trials, including the Bowbazar blast case (1993) in which the convicted Rashid Khan is serving life. “He had also been part of the trials in the Roma Jhawar abduction (2005), the kidnap of Khadim’s owner Partha Pratim Roy Burman (2001) and the American Center attack (2002),” an officer said.
Advocate Bhattacharyya said the role of public prosecutors was “becoming increasingly complex” under the Trinamul government. “In the Raiganj college case (where Trinamul student leaders were accused of beating up a college principal), the PP didn’t oppose the bail plea of the accused. However, the PP vehemently opposed it in the lower court in the Majdia college incident (where supporters of the CPM’s student wing were in the dock),” he pointed out.