SC to hear plea of West Bengal BJP leader Bharati Ghosh on May 28

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New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to hear on May 28 the plea of former IPS officer and BJP leader Bharati Ghosh who was earlier granted protection from arrest in connection with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls violence case till the conclusion of the assembly polls in West Bengal.

Ghosh unsuccessfully fought assembly polls as a BJP candidate from Debra. She lost to Trinamool Congress candidate Humayun Kabir, also a former IPS officer. The BJP leader, through senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, sought hearing of her pending case as the protection against the non-bailable warrant issued by a local court of West Bengal has ended on the conclusion of assembly poll process on May 2. “We will hear it next Friday,” a vacation bench of justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai said when Jethmalani sought urgent hearing of the plea.

“I had been a decorated IPS officer. I am now facing 12 cases and was attacked despite having CISF protection,” Jethmalani said.

The apex court on March 9 had said that the non-bailable arrest warrant be kept at abeyance and no further coercive action be taken against Ghosh.

The top court had noted that it had already granted interim protection to the petitioner in the writ petition with regard to FIRs which have been filed against her. “The interim order was granted on October 1, 2018 which was extended subsequently on February 19, 2019, and July 15, 2019. In the meantime, we direct that the warrant of arrest issued to the petitioner shall be kept in abeyance issued in P.S. Case No…and further no coercive action shall be taken against the petitioner till completion of the assembly election,” the apex court had said. It had said that after completion of the election, it would be open for Ghosh to appear before the concerned court and make such an application as permissible under law.

The apex court had been protecting the highly decorated former IPS officer and multiple criminal cases had been filed against her by the state police, she had said.

Since 2019, she has been called for questioning in connection with various FIRs lodged against her, her lawyer had said, adding that even her husband was made accused in one of the cases in which the top court had granted him relief.

Ghosh had said she was a BJP candidate from Ghatal Parliamentary constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and alleged that she was attacked by TMC goons at every polling booth and police remained mute spectators.

On February 19, 2019, the top court had provided her relief by granting her protection from arrest in all the cases registered against her.

Ghosh, once considered close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, claimed the police has registered over dozen FIRs against her, including a case of alleged extortion and illegal exchange of banned notes for gold.

The West Bengal government had earlier opposed the plea of Ghosh and said she wants a stay of arrest on a writ petition, which cannot be done.

Ghosh, who was the West Midnapore Superintendent of Police for more than six years, was transferred as commandant of the third battalion of the state armed police on December 26, 2017. She resigned from service two days later. PTI SJK MNL ABA RKS RKS

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