A file picture of Mohammad Iqbal
Mohammad Iqbal alias Munna, the Trinamul leader arrested at Dehri-on-Sone in Bihar last week for his alleged role in the shooting of a police officer in Garden Reach, has been sent to police custody till March 28.
The Garden Reach borough XV chairman has been charged with rioting and murder in two separate cases for the same incident. For the second case, that of murder, the court remanded Munna in judicial custody till April 3.
Throughout the court session that lasted over an hour on Wednesday afternoon, an unshaven Munna, sporting a violet kurta and a white pyjama, was busy talking to his daughter Saba, his wife and friends, drinking water from a bottle to clear his parched throat.
When the acting chief judicial magistrate of Alipore court, Suparna Roy, pronounced her ruling around 4.45pm, he looked unfazed.
Moments after the court order, CID officers escorted Munna out of the courtroom with Saba reminding them to be gentle with her diabetic father: “Aap unko aaram se pakriye (hold him gently)”. They bundled him into the waiting police van amid a rush of slogans from some 200-odd supporters of the Trinamul leader. They kept shouting “Munnabhai zindabad” as the van struggled to make way through the crowd.
Munna’s lawyers, though, refused to leave the courtroom. For the next half an hour, lawyers Ashok Mukherjee and Baishanor Chatterjee argued that his police remand should be reduced from March 28 to March 22.
“March 27 is Holi and Ashok Mukherjee would be on leave the next day. Why don’t you reconsider your order?” Chatterjee said.
The judge pondered for a few minutes and then left the courtroom without a word.
“The CID could have made a single case since the date and time of the incident are same. But they didn’t so that they can have Munna in custody in both cases,” lawyer Mukherjee said before walking up to Saba.
Munna’s daughter alleged: “My papa told me inside the courtroom that the CID officers were abusing the chief minister and other ministers before ill-treating him during questioning. They are not giving him medicines. I can’t understand what the CID officers are up to?”
“We are not getting any political support. Even then, given a chance, I would like to meet the chief minister and inform her about the CID officers,” she added.
As she spoke, another squeal of “Munnabhai zindabad” rose from outside the court. His supporters turned up in strength and their vehicles festooned with “Munna is innocent” placards. The show continued until Saba left the premises.