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Swift bail in ECL case
- Relief for Trinamul union leader in 10 minutes

Durgapur, July 25: The Trinamul trade union leader arrested on the charge of threatening and intimidating Eastern Coalfields officials and booked under bailable sections was today granted bail within 10 minutes of production in an Asansol court.

Police opposed the bail plea of Chunulal Mishra, who had been booked for criminal intimidation (IPC Section 506) and issuing threats through text messages and over phone (Section 66A of the IT Act), to two ECL managers, but the Asansol additional chief judicial magistrate’s court granted the relief to the INTTUC leader on a surety of Rs 500.

The police did not seek Mishra’s remand as his “offence” was “evident” but opposed the leader’s bail plea apprehending further “muscle flexing” at the J.K. Nagar colliery.

“We did not seek his remand as his offence comes under the IT Act and the text messages he sent to the ECL managers were found saved in the cellphone we seized from him. His offence in evident and we do not need to interrogate him further,” said Bamapada Das, the Raniganj circle inspector of police.

An officer of the Asansol-Durgapur commissionerate said the police opposed Mishra’s bail plea “because being an influential person, he might resort to further muscle-flexing” at the colliery. “However, it is the magistrate’s discretion to grant bail or not.”

Mishra was arrested yesterday after ECL threatened to shut down a mine in Raniganj from Saturday unless action was taken against him for allegedly assaulting a manager and later intimidating him and a colleague. Mishra was also suspended from the INTTUC after what was described as an internal probe.

ECL today said it would keep its decision on the colliery “in abeyance”.

Niladri Roy, the director (technical) of ECL, said: “We are contemplating to keep in abeyance our decision to close down the J.K. Nagar coal mine from Saturday. However, we will finalise this at a meeting with executives tomorrow.”

Roy declined comment on Mishra’s bail.

ECL manager B.K. Singh, who was allegedly assaulted on July 18, and Ashim Mandal, another manager, had filed complaints on July 21 and 22 alleging threats.

Mishra was brought to the Asansol court around 10.30am and kept in the lock-up. Acting additional chief judicial magistrate Supriya Khan granted him bail within 10 minutes of production.

“Assistant public prosecutor Sushmita Chakraborty opposed the bail but as the charges against my client were bailable, he was granted bail,” said Abhijit Mukherjee, Mishra’s lawyer.

Mishra left the court around 4.30pm, riding pillion on the motorbike of one of his associates.

Asansol BJP MP Babul Supriyo said the police in Bengal were “helpless”. “People know what the police are doing in Bengal. The police are helpless as they have to keep their job. But I hope Trinamul and the INTTUC will see to it that Chunulal does not create any more trouble at the coal mine.”

The police last night arrested two Trinamul workers — Arun Acharya and Harishankar Chatterjee — on the charge of demanding money from a businessman in Jamuria.

Acharya and Chatterjee were granted bail today as the police failed to establish the charges against them.