| Narayan Biswas coming out of Rabindra Bhavan in Balurghat. Picture by Abhijit Chakrabarty
Balurghat/Calcutta, Oct. 28: Narayan Biswas, the fugitive minister, could have been arrested today had Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's police wanted to honour a court order.
They did not.
In a cheeky display of contempt for the law of the land, Biswas, the minister of state for cottage and small-scale industries, made a dramatic appearance at a news conference in Balurghat this afternoon to announce: 'I am being branded an absconder. I want to make it clear here that I am not on the run.'
South Dinajpur superintendent of police Barun Mullick said 'I have no comments to offer' when his attention was drawn to Biswas's presence at the venue.
The impromptu news conference took place at Rabindra Bhavan on the sidelines of a convention of members of the CPM's South Dinajpur unit. One of the attractions at the convention was Biswas, who went out of sight three weeks ago following the rejection of his bail petition by the district court in September-end. After the petition was rejected, it was widely expected that the police, looked after by the chief minister himself, would put him behind bars.
'I am not a minister who is absconding,' thundered Biswas at the convention. 'Certain newspapers are distorting facts while reporting the cases.'
Biswas, who was initially more heard (talking on his mobile) than seen, had been regularly attending meetings at the CPM's district party office over the past few weeks.
In the city, state CPM secretary Anil Biswas echoed the chief minister, saying: 'Wait for two-three days for the Narayan Biswas issue to reach its logical culmination. When I say two-three days, I mean early November.'