Kolkata: West Bengal Congress leader Koustav Bagchi was arrested on Saturday for allegedly making derogatory comments about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a press conference early this week.
The arrest has evoked major criticism from different corners and has become significant since the development happens less than 48 hours after the Left Front-supported Congress Baryon Biswas defeated the Trinamool Congress candidate Debasish Bandopadhyay by a heavy margin of 23,000 votes in the bypoll for Sagardighi assembly constituency in Murshidabad district, results for which was announced on Thursday.
In fact, the root of the sequence of events that ultimately led to Bagchi’s arrest was the result of the bypoll.
On Thursday afternoon soon after the bypoll results were announced, Banerjee had launched a scathing attack against state Congress president and veteran party MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury referring to his daughter’s suicide in 2006.
On Friday, Bagchi, also a senior counsel of the Calcutta High Court, called a counter press conference where he referred to a book written by former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Deepak Kumar Ghosh, which reportedly has some references about the personal life of the Chief Minister.
He said that since Banerjee has started the process of personal attack referring to matter of the suicide of Chowdhury’s daughter, he would now counter by circulating the soft copy of Ghosh’s book through WhatsApp.
After the arrest at around 8.30 a.m. on Saturday, Bagchi told media persons that a team of Kolkata Police cops arrived at his residence as early as 3 a.m.
“After conducting a search operation virtually ransacking my residence for almost five hours, they finally arrested me. I am being harassed because of speaking the truth about the Chief Minister,” he said.
The police is, however, tight-lipped over the reasons for which Bagchi was arrested.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) leadership has expressed solidarity towards Bagchi over the development.
The lawyers’ cell of CPI(M) has sent a communication to the Congress leadership to provide full legal support to Bagchi in the matter.
Bagchi will be presented at a lower court in Kolkata on Saturday afternoon.