Calcutta, May 12: The chief judge of the city civil and sessions court today granted anticipatory bail to Left Front chairman Biman Bose but asked him to surrender in court by June 10.
Bose was apprehending arrest after the Election Commission lodged an FIR against him on May 11 on charges of making adverse comments against poll observers.
The CPM politburo member had criticised the role of the observers at a news conference on May 8. Bose apparently said he had asked his party cadre to drag observers who crossed their limit of authority by the scruff of their necks to police stations.
Boses comment kicked up a furore and the Election Commission took cognisance of his statement. Chief electoral officer Basudeb Banerjee lodged the complaint at Taltola police station on the instruction of Nirvachan Sadan.
Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, former advocate-general of Tripura, moved the anticipatory bail plea on behalf of Bose, who did not appear in court. Bhattacharya told the court that the Election Commissions allegation against Bose was made on the basis of newspaper reports which were not true.
The alleged statement of Bose might cause prima facie offence under sections 153, 171C(2), 189, 503, 504 (mainly dealing with obstructing government servants from discharging their duties) and 505(1) of the IPC. But all the sections except 505(1) (waging war against the state) are bailable, the lawyer argued.
Bhattacharya claimed the allegation against his client was not true. My client has not made such a statement. The statement, even if true, cannot be said to have instigated a feeling of riot between two communities. The statement also does not instigate people to wage war against the state, he said.
The lawyer added that his client was a law-abiding citizen and an eminent political personality. He will neither abscond nor will he avoid investigation if anticipatory bail was granted to him, he said.
Public prosecutor Ashok Bakshi did not oppose Boses anticipatory bail prayer.