| Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi on his way to the local police station on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Jorhat, Sept. 25: Rupjyoti Kurmi, the Congress MLA from Mariani, came to the local police station today to give his statement in the case where he and his former personal security officer Dipu Saikia have been accused of assaulting a police driver on the night of August 20.
Last month, the police had served a notice to the legislator under Section 41 (A) CrPC, and asked him to come to the police station today to record his statement. Kurmi, who arrived at Mariani police station at 10am, spent nearly two-and-a-half hours there answering questions asked by investigating officer U.C. Patwary related to the case (159/13).
The case was registered at Mariani police station on the basis of an FIR lodged by the driver, constable Kamal Mohan. He alleged that Kurmi and his PSO had beaten him up late on August 20 night, near Kathanibari tea estate on Jorhat-Mariani road, while their vehicles crossed paths.
Kurmi’s statements were recorded in the presence of Jorhat additional superintendent of police (headquarters) Naveen Singh, Titabar sub-divisional police officer R. Borgohain, Mariani circle inspector K. Bonia and Mariani police station officer-in-charge Pritam Gogoi.
Police sources said Kurmi, who has been denying the charges levelled against him, maintained the same during the questioning. He even denied scolding Mohan. A source said the MLA told the police that he just asked Mohan why was he driving rashly as he (Kurmi) had a narrow escape. The legislator told the police team that his then PSO Dipu Saikia had slapped Mohan after the police constable allegedly misbehaved with him.
Kurmi and Saikia were booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 294 (obscene act in a public place), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from duty) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC. Section 332 is non-bailable.
Kurmi also gave statements in another case (160/13) registered at the same police station on the basis of a counter-FIR lodged by him, alleging that Mohan had misbehaved with him on the night of August 20.
A senior police official of the district confirmed to this correspondent that the MLA gave statements on both the cases. The official also said Kurmi’s former PSO, who had earlier admitted to the police that he had hit Mohan, was also questioned today to cross-check the MLA’s statements. Kurmi told The Telegraph that he “fully co-operated with the police” and denied his involvement in assaulting Mohan.
“I told them it (the case) is a conspiracy to frame me as I have been very vocal against the police in recent times,” the MLA said. He claimed that he even arranged water for Mohan after his nose started bleeding.
Kurmi told this correspondent this evening he has expressed “regret” over making anti-police comments on August 19. He said he was not against the Assam police but against policemen involved in the firing at Hemlai division of Boisahabi tea garden in his constituency. A school student had died in the incident and a college student injured.
Last month, four police escorts of Kurmi told a local court that the legislator had actually assaulted the driver, though the civilian driver of the escort vehicle denied witnessing the act.
Kurmi’s case had kicked off a political storm in Dispur with members from the anti-Gogoi camp, to which Kurmi belongs, issuing threats to quit their seats if Kurmi was arrested. The All Assam Police Association, on the other hand, had demanded Kurmi’s arrest.