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EC heat leads to Sabitri kin arrest

Malda, April 11: Malda police today arrested all four persons named in the FIR alleging a Trinamul group’s assault on poll officials yesterday, following pressure from the Election Commission.

Among those arrested today was Soumyadwip Sarkar, the son-in-law of Trinamul Malda president and minister of state for social welfare Sabitri Mitra.

The Election Commission today exerted pressure on the Bengal administration by ordering director-general of police G.M.P. Reddy this morning to ensure the arrests of all those named in the FIR and file an action-taken report by 5pm.

“The DG has sent an action-taken report, which we will examine. He is also to send a detailed probe report, which we will take into account in our investigation into the incident,” said a commission source from Delhi. “We are going to ensure that no such incident takes place again in Bengal for the rest of the poll process.”

The commission, according to him, is likely to pursue the matter in court and ensure penal action against those responsible.

Yesterday, Trinamul supporters led by Sarkar had allegedly punched and kicked poll officials when they were video-recording a bike rally for which the party had not taken permission.

The bike rally was part of the campaign of Malda South Trinamul candidate Moazzem Hossain, who was present when the poll team was assaulted. This was the third assault on poll officials in a few weeks. In all the cases, Trinamul workers have been accused of the attacks.

Yesterday evening, the police had arrested Bipin Behari Mondol, a Trinamul member of the Manikchak panchayat samity, and Kalu Shiekh and Nilkantha Singh, both Trinamul workers. The three were produced in the chief judicial magistrate’s court and remanded in two days’ police custody. Today’s arrests take the total number of those held to seven.

Rupesh Kumar, the Malda police superintendent, said the four arrested today will be produced in court tomorrow.

“All seven arrested persons have been charged under Section 186 (obstructing public servant from performing duty), Section 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant), Section 171C (undue influence in elections), Section 141 (unlawful assembly), Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), Section 352 (punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation) and Section 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the IPC. They have also been charged under Section 34(A) of the Motor Vehicles Act,” Kumar said.

Sections 352 and 353 are non-bailable.