Mondal with Mamata at the rally in Burdwan on Wednesday
Calcutta, April 10: Calcutta High Court today wondered aloud “are we in safe hands?” and “what is the message this will send?”
Justice Dipankar Dutta was referring to photographs that showed chief minister Mamata Banerjee sharing a dais with a Trinamul leader against whom the court had ordered police action in a murder case.
“I have taken judicial notice of the fact that accused Mondal has the blessings of the chief minister and it can be reasonably revealed that the DGP and other members of the special investigation team have not dared to take action because of political influences that the accused enjoys,” Justice Dutta said.
At another point, the judge asked: “The chief minister is holding a constitutional post and so am I. Can one person holding a constitutional post challenge another holding the same? Are we in safe hands?”
The observations came close on the heels of an attack on the Election Commission by the chief minister who pulled back from the brink in the eleventh hour. But election officials continued to be tormented in Bengal with a team being beaten up in Malda today. ( )
The judge has summoned state director-general of police, G.M.P. Reddy, to the court tomorrow to explain why no action was taken against Anubrata Mondal, Trinamul’s Birbhum president, in connection with the murder of Sagar Ghosh.
Ghosh, the father of a dissident Trinamul leader who contested as an Independent in last year’s panchayat elections, was shot dead a few days after Mondal publicly asked party supporters to burn down houses of dissidents contesting the elections.
Today, the court wondered whether the police could act freely after the chief minister openly shared the stage with the controversial leader yesterday. On the eve of the court hearing, Mamata and Mondal had shared the dais at an election rally in Burdwan’s Mangalkot for the party’s Bolpur candidate, Anupam Hazra.
Last Monday, Justice Dutta had expressed the “hope” that the DGP would take action against Mondal by Thursday, adding that he would hand over the case to the CBI if the DGP failed to execute the order. “I will have to summon the DGP and ask him why he had failed to take action against Mondal,” said Justice Dutta.
This afternoon, Justice Dutta asked government pleader Ashok Banerjee whether he had seen newspaper photographs of Mamata and Mondal together.
“Please tell me, how could this be possible after the court’s order?” asked Justice Dutta. “What is the message this will send?”
When the pleader said he had no information and needed time, Justice Dutta gave him time till tomorrow.
Banerjee requested the court to hold the session with the DGP in-camera.
Justice Dutta said: “He (DGP) has tested my patience. Please ask him to appear before the court tomorrow and explain.”
Mamata had said at yesterday’s rally, the main organiser of which was Mondal: “I asked Keshto (Mondal’s nickname) if they had asked for something that he did not give and so they were targeting him. He could have given them muri and narkol (puffed rice and coconut).”