Calcutta High Court today granted relief to West Bengal Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari saying there can be no coercive action against him and he cannot be arrested in existing or future cases without its nod.
The High Court also stayed investigation in three of five cases filed against him after he quit the Trinamool Congress in December 2020 to join the BJP.
The order came on a day Mr Adhikari’s political rival, Trinamool leader Abhishek Banerjee, appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi in a case of money laundering related to coal theft. His questioning began around 11 am and went on it till at least 5 pm when reports last came in.
Mr Adhikari, on the other hand, declined to go to the Criminal Investigation Department of West Bengal Police where he was to appear today in a 2018 case of unnatural death of one of his security staff, which is now being probed as a potential murder case.
The court has stayed the probe into the case first registered in Contai, along with one involving a political clash at Nandigram and another of gold chain snatching at Panskura — all three places in East Midnapore district of West Bengal.
Two other cases, including one involving an alleged job scam in Maniktala, Kolkata, and another in which Mr Adhikari allegedly threatened a police official over a political meeting held in violation of the the Disaster Management Act in Tamluk of East Midnapore.
“While investigations can continue in the two cases, if the police want to question Mr Adhikari, they will have to do so at a place and time of his choice, given that he is Leader of Opposition in the Bengal Assembly,” said his lawyer.
The court also observed that Mr Adhikari had been summoned in a 2018 case of alleged suicide three years after the incident.
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh dismissed the claims that Mr Adhikari has been protected against arrest. “In cases where investigations are continuing, police can certainly question Adhikari and arrest him if needed. Where is the bar on his arrest?”