The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata in bandh case hide and seek

Calcutta, Nov. 29: Mamata Banerjee has been repeatedly stalling efforts to have a high court notice, asking Trinamul representatives to be present at tomorrow's bandh case hearing, delivered to either her or her party's headquarters.

This is what advocate Idris Ali, who has filed a petition opposing the Trinamul-sponsored December 3 bandh, will tell the judges at the hearing.

Ali has been directed by the court to serve a notice on Trinamul representatives to be present in court. 'I have made at least three attempts to have the court's notice served on either Mamata or her party leaders at Trinamul's party office at Topsia,' Ali said.

'But every attempt has met with the same fate: no one has agreed to accept the notice, saying that they have no instructions from Mamata to do so,' he added.

No one in Trinamul would comment on the refusal. 'We have not received any summons so far,' Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy said.

As directed by the court, the notice was despatched by Ali through a courier, by Speedpost and registered and ordinary mail. 'The courier service and Speedpost have returned the letters saying no one would accept it,' Ali said. 'So I sent the notice with two of my juniors to Mamata's Kalighat residence, but they, too, fared no better.'

By refusing to accept the summons, Trinamul may be setting up a confrontation with the court, which has formed a special bench on bandhs, as well as the administration.

At the last hearing, the court asked the government if it would be able to implement steps that might be recommended to prevent the December 3 bandh from affecting life. Pressured by the court, the administration had tried to ensure that transport was normal during the SUCI bandh. There was also heavy security to inspire confidence in those who wanted to go to work.

The government today said those employees unable to attend office on December 3 would have to apply for leave in accordance with service rules.

Mamata would not speak on the summons and not because there was anything wrong with her voice. She addressed two rallies in Calcutta to drum up support for the bandh.

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