No coercive step against WB Cong leader, HC to police

(Eds: Recasts intro, adds details) Kolkata, Dec 3 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed the West Bengal police not to take any coercive step against state Congress leader Sanmoy Bandopadhyay, whose arrest in October for allegedly spreading false information had created a political furore.

Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya also directed the police to preserve video footage of his arrest from his residence and incarceration at Khardah police station in North 24 Parganas district.

The court directed the police not to take any coercive step against Bandopadhyay, a Congress spokesman in West Bengal, on the basis of the FIR against him till further orders.

Bandopadhyay had moved the high court seeking quashing of the FIR against him, claiming that it was based on trumped-up charges as he had earned the wrath of the ruling party for his writings. He also alleged that he was subjected to physical torture at the Khardah police station on the night of his arrest.

Bandopadhyay, who claimed to be a freelance journalist, was booked under Information Technology Act, 2000 for allegedly spreading false information and various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) accusing him of forgery, defamation, intentional insult and intent to cause alarm to the public.

The court posted the matter for further hearing in January again.

Bandopadhyay, who was arrested by Purulia district cyber crime police station for alleged violation of Cyber Crime Act on October 17, was granted bail by a court there after three days.

Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had accused the police of arresting Bandopadhyay for circulating posts critical of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government.

Bandopadhyay's arrest is a classic example of intolerance of the highest order, Chowdhury had alleged.

Reacting to the allegations, senior TMC leader and party chief whip in state Assembly, Nirmal Ghosh had said Bandopadhyay was arrested as there were several criminal charges against him and claimed that it had nothing to do with criticism of the state government. PTI AMR NN NN