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PIL challenges move to drop Bimal Gurung cases

A case related to the death of sub-inspector Amitava Mallik during the Gorkhaland agitation in 2017 is not among the withdrawn cases
Bimal Gurung
Bimal Gurung
File picture

Vivek Chhetri   |   Darjeeling   |   Published 20.03.21, 03:31 AM

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in Calcutta High Court, challenging the state government’s decision to withdraw cases against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha founder president Bimal Gurung and seeking his arrest.

Sources said Howrah resident, Ankur Sharma, 24, who is described as a law graduate and social worker, filed the petition (W.P.A (P) 101 of 2021) on March 12.

“The petition has been filed and hearing is expected to be held next week,” Sushovan Dey, advocate-on-record of Sharma, told The Telegraph over the phone from Calcutta.

Sources said one of the major points raised in the petition pertained to whether the state government had arbitrarily exercised powers under section 321 of CrPC. This section allows for withdrawal of prosecution.

Other issues raised in the PIL pertain to security given to Gurung despite several arrest warrants and the need to formulate guidelines so that powers under section 321 CrPC are exercised in a logical fashion and not in an arbitrary manner by the party in power.

After being on the run for more than three years, Gurung resurfaced in Calcutta on October 21, 2020, and announced his support for Trinamul in the Bengal Assembly elections.

The sources had said the process to withdraw the cases had started in November last year.

“The process starts from the office of the legal remembrance cell of the judicial department and the order to withdraw the case reads ‘by order of the governor’. We have received such a sanction for 130-odd cases since November,” the source had said.

On Friday, a source in Darjeeling court said most of Gurung’s cases had either been withdrawn or were in the process of being dropped. A case related to the death of sub-inspector Amitava Mallik during the Gorkhaland agitation in 2017 is not among the withdrawn cases.

The source could not immediately recollect the exact number of cases pending against Gurung and those withdrawn immediately. “The cases pertain to three phases of agitation starting from 2007,” said the source.

Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha’s camp, refused to comment on a “sub judice matter.”

The outcome of the PIL can have major political ramifications in the Darjeeling hills.

Gurung’s party, which was lying low, decided to field candidates in the three hill seats of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong and support Trinamul in the plains.

Gurung claims he can influence the outcome of election results in “10 to 15” seats in the Dooars and the Terai also.

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