Bengal Journalist, Arrested After Illegal Liquor Trade Reports, Released on Bail

Bengal Police arrested Debmalya Bagchi based on the complaint of a woman which has since come under the scanner.

New Delhi: Anandabazar Patrika journalist Debmalya Bagchi, arrested in Bengal’s Kharagpur allegedly for making casteist remarks and assaulting a woman – shortly after he authored investigative reports on illegal liquor trade – was released on bail late on Thursday, September 14.

The bail hearing of Bagchi’s source Basanti Das, who is his co-accused, is scheduled today.

Bagchi recently wrote two reports highlighting illegal hooch trade in the Patnapara area of Sanjoal in Kharagpur’s Ward No 24. The first of these appeared on August 26 and the second on August 29.

Bengal Police arrested Bagchi based on the complaint of a woman on August 28. He was booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354B (assault or use of criminal force with intent to disrobe), 509 (uttering any word or making any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman), and under non-bailable provisions of the Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

As The Wire has reported, the Adivasi Bikash Parishad, a body for Scheduled Tribes, has vehemently opposed the inclusion of SC/ST Act sections against Bagchi.

Multiple questions have also been raised about the nature of police action against the well-known journalist and the timing and credibility of the complaint against him, Alt News has additionally reported.

The report notes that in the recording of a telephonic conversation reportedly between the complainant and a journalist  the former admits that the allegations brought by her against the Anandabazar reporter are fictitious and that she acted ‘out of anger’.