A division bench of the Calcutta high court on Wednesday ordered immediate release of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari’s aide Rakhal Bera. He was granted bail on Monday by a single bench but was shown as arrested on Tuesday in another case although the single bench had said that Bera cannot be arrested in connection with any case in any part of Bengal without the court’s order.
Bera’s advocate Lokenath Chatterjee said the division bench of justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and justice Subhasis Dasgupta on Wednesday asked the state to release Bera from the Contai jail in East Midnapore district immediately.
Bera walked free on Wednesday evening. The next hearing will take place on August 26.
Bera was charged in several criminal cases in East Midnapore in June. On July 1, a case was registered against him at the Manicktala police station in Kolkata as well. He was subsequently arrested.
“The division bench did not interfere with the order of the single bench of justice Rajasekhar Mantha. Also, the division bench did not grant any stay in favour of the state government,” said Chatterjee.
Justice Mantha passed his order after hearing Bera’s petition seeking bail and a stay on the investigations.
In the order passed on Monday, justice Mantha said, “Considering the repeated attempts by persons to lodge one complaint after the other against the petitioner and in a planned and systematic manner and the repeated arrest after bail in one case or the other, this court is persuaded to grant interim relief to the petitioner.”
“…it is reiterated that the petitioner is being punished by the ruling dispensation for changing political affiliation and for being close to the present leader of the opposition by causing to foist false cases against him,” said the order.
“There appears to be a pattern being followed by police in coordination with one another in attempting to keep the petitioner in custody by hook or crook on one pretext or the other and by registering an FIR after the other,” justice Mantha said in his order.
Challenging the order, the West Bengal government on Tuesday moved the division bench of justice Tapabrata Chakraborty and justice Subhasis Dasgupta.
While the hearing was in progress, the court was informed that instead of being released from the jail, Bera had been arrested in connection with another case registered at Nandakumar police station in East Midnapore district on June 16. Chatterjee told the division bench that the arrest was illegal, especially after the single bench said on Monday that the cases were politically motivated.
The division bench asked the state to file a report within 24 hours.
“On Wednesday, the state government withdrew the application for Bera’s arrest in the case registered at Nandakumar police station,” said Chatterjee.
Adhikari, who defeated Mamata Banerjee at Nandigram in East Midnapore in the recent assembly polls, joined the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in December last year. In May, he became the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly. After Bera’s arrest, his lawyers told the court that he was a victim of “political vendetta” because of his proximity to Adhikari.