Kolkata | The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the West Bengal police to not arrest BJP leader Mukul Roy till March 7 in connection with the killing of Trinamool Congress MLA Satyajit Biswas.
The court, however, refused to grant anticipatory bail “at this stage” to the BJP leader, “keeping in mind the gravity of the crime”.
A division bench comprising justices Joymalya Bagchi and M Mandal, when granting protection to Roy from arrest till March 7, said it will hear the matter again on March 5.
The bench also barred Roy from entering Nadia district till further orders, except for the purpose of investigation or attending court proceedings.
Roy filed a plea for anticipatory bail before the high court on Tuesday after being named in an FIR, along with three others, for the Trinamool Congress MLA’s killing on Saturday.
Biswas was shot dead by unidentified assailants inside a Saraswati puja marquee on February 9 in Nadia district. Two accused Kartik Mondal and Sujit Mondal were arrested a day after and remanded to 14-day police custody.
Roy, a former TMC member of Parliament, joined the BJP in November 2017 following differences with party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP leader’s lawyers Sandipan Ganguly and Phiroze Edulji submitted to the court that “implicating him in criminal cases amounted to his harassment”.
Claiming that the allegation of conspiracy against Roy in the killing of Biswas was “vague and nebulous”, Roy’s lawyers stated that the present case was an example of abuse of investigational powers of the police.
Opposing Roy’s anticipatory bail plea, state counsel KTS Tulsi submitted that the investigation is at a “nascent stage” and claimed Roy had abetted the killing.
Directing the police to not arrest Roy till March 7, the division bench observed that Roy’s liberty “ought not be eclipsed since he is an opposition party leader, but his movement needs to be restricted in view of his political clout to ensure confidence in the investigation”.
The court directed Roy to cooperate with the probe and be available for questioning, as and when necessary, on a day’s notice.
The investigators were directed to place a progress report before it by the next date of hearing.
The division bench granted liberty to the state to approach the court in the event of non-cooperation or non-compliance of its order by Roy.
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