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“It is astounding”: Calcutta HC bars West Bengal police from arresting NIA officials in Bhupatinagar case, slams police for adding baseless charges

The high court pulled up WB police for imposing section 325 against the NIA officials when there was no mention of 'grievous injury' in the complaint.

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday (10th April) stopped the West Bengal Police from detaining NIA officials in a case booked for allegedly violating women’s modesty while arresting two TMC leaders in a 2022 blast case. The police have filed a FIR against NIA officials for alleged molestation in the Bhupatinagar incident, following a complaint from the wife of an arrested TMC leader.

On Saturday (6th April), one of the officials was hurt in a mob attack as they returned from Bhupatinagar in East Midnapore district, where they had arrested two people in connection with an inquiry into a bomb that killed three people there in December 2022. However, the next day on 7 April, East Midnapore Police registered an FIR against NIA and CRPF officers who were attacked by the mob, citing a complaint filed by a woman. The complainant alleged that NIA officials molested her by breaking the doors of their houses late at night.

Hearing a plea filed by NIA seeking protection against action by West Bengal Police, the high court came down heavily on the state police for filing the FIR against the NIA officers. The court noted that NIA officials went to conduct a raid strictly in terms of the law, adding that the law does not require the NIA to obtain permission from state police.

Justice Jai Sengupta questioned the role of state police in the matter, questioning how the NIA officers, who were victims of mob violence, were booked under stringent provisions based on the complaint of the wife of one of the persons arrested by the NIA.

However, the HC stated that the police can interview NIA officials via video conferencing if required, but they can’t arrest NIA officials named in the case.

The High Court also noted that the police must issue a prior notice of 72 hours if they intend to question the NIA officials. The Court further came down heavily on the West Bengal police stating that the FIR filed against the NIA officials contained several bits of malafide information against the NIA officials.

The Court questioned the imposition of section 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) in the FIR filed against NIA officials by the wife of an arrested TMC leader. The Court pondered how section 325 was imposed against the NIA officials when there was no mention of ‘grievous injury’ in the complaint. The court noted that the medical report mentions only minor scratches and pain and does not mention grievous hurt.

“It is astounding that FIR was registered under Section 325 by the state police,” the court said. 

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a court petition on Tuesday (9th April), seeking the dismissal of a FIR against its employees who conducted a raid in West Bengal’s Bhupatinagar as part of the agency’s investigation into a blast case. The appeal also requested temporary protection from any coercive action by state police against NIA officers.

The court asked state police to submit the case diary and listed the case for April 29.

Meanwhile, the NIA has also registered a case against the attackers at the Bhupatinagar police station.

The West Bengal Police on Tuesday (9th April) summoned the NIA official who was injured in the attack to appear before the investigating officer at the Bhupatinagar police station on 11th April.

The investigating officer at Bhupatinagar police station also asked the NIA to bring the vehicle that was damaged during the incident on Saturday so that they could conduct a forensic examination on it. In addition, the police officer called three locals from Bhupatinagar for questioning.

The attack on the NIA team occurred almost three months after villagers and locals assaulted a team of Enforcement Department (ED) police on 5th January when they attempted to raid the residence of now-arrested TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh in connection with the suspected ration fraud.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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