Kolkata, Mar 25 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed Chhatradhar Mahato, the former leader of Maoist-backed People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), to appear at the NIA office here thrice a week for alleged involvement in a murder case.
On a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for custodial interrogation of Mahato, a division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee ruled that the accused appear before the investigating officer at the task force's Salt Lake office at 11 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The bench further said that if there is any breach of its direction, the NIA can bring it to the notice of a lower court, which, if it deems fit, will thereupon record it and permit the agency to take him into custody.
The matter will be heard again at the high court on April 20, the bench directed.
The NIA had moved an appeal before the high court challenging a special court order restraining the agency from arresting Mahato in connection with the murder of a local CPI (M) leader in 2009 at Lalgarh in the Jangalmahal region, which was then a hotbed of Maoist activities.
The agency had moved the agency's special court seeking orders for custodial interrogation of Mahato.
Mahato had failed to appear before the special NIA court on a number of occasions citing various reasons.
After several such failures, the special court had on November 18 ordered Mahato to appear before it exactly a month later, while directing that the NIA would not arrest him in the meantime.
The NIA has accused Mahato under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, apart from waging war against the country.
Mahato was released from prison in 2020 after having served a 10-year sentence in connection with an abortive bid on the life of then West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in 2008, and several other cases of bombing and landmine blasts. PTI AMR RMS RMS