The Calcutta High Court on Monday rejected the plea for anticipatory bail by Congress MLA Manas Bhunia and seven others in connection with the murder of Trinamool Congress leader Joydeb Jana.
It may be recalled that Jana was the Trinamool Congress booth president of Dubrajpur and he was beaten to death allegedly by CPI(M) and Congress workers in Sabang on the night of April 8, just days ahead of the Assembly elections in the district. The victim’s family members had lodged a complaint with Dubrajpur police station against 21 people, including Bhunia, his brother Bikash and the local MLA.
Again on July 4, the Midnapore Court had issued a warrant against eight persons, whose names were mentioned in the FIR, including Bhunia and his brother. The development had come on a day when the session of the West Bengal Assembly was on and Bhunia had already been mired in several controversies after becoming the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Bhunia and seven others had pleaded before the Calcutta High Court for an anticipatory bail. On Monday, the Division Bench of Justice Nadira Patherya and Justice Samapti Chatterjee rejected the bail plea after going through the case diary and assessing the nature of the incident.
Sekhar Basu, counsel for Bhunia and others, said: “The incident took place days ahead of the polls in the area and none of them were present at the spot when the incident took place. The decision to lodge FIR against them was politically motivated. Police can reveal the truth if they investigate properly and they will come to know that none of them were at the spot.”
He further added: “If needed the police can check the mobile phone tower location of Dr Bhunia and others. It will again prove that they were not involved in the incident. At the same time, the police may question the security personnel of Bhunia and his brother to know where were they on the day of the incident. But the police are yet to question them.”
The state’s counsel Manajit Singh submitted the case diary before the Court. After going through the diary and assessing the importance of the case, the Court rejected the bail plea of Bhunia and seven others.
Bhunia could move the Supreme Court after the rejection of his bail plea by the High Court.
Adhir Chowdhury, the state Congress president, said: “Dr Bhunia is a respectable politician. The people of Sabang will never believe that he is involved in the incident. The move to drag his name into the incident is politically motivated. We all are with Dr Bhunia.”
Manasi Jana, wife of the victim, still believes that it would not have been possible for Congress and CPI(M) workers to attack her husband without any instigation from senior leaders. According to the victim’s neighbours, Jana had been receiving threats in the few days ahead of his death.
He had also been threatened not to continue working for Trinamool Congress and was attacked for not paying heed to their threats.