Tripura: TMC Leader Saayoni Ghosh Arrested for 'Criminal Conspiracy' Gets Bail

The TMC has said that the state BJP government is targeting its leaders and supporters ahead of the upcoming civic elections.

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Agartala: TMC leader Saayoni Ghosh, who was arrested on Sunday, November 21, on charges of criminal intimidation and attempt to murder was granted bail by the court of additional chief judicial magistrate in West Tripura district on Monday, November 22.

With three days to go for the civic body elections in Tripura, the atmosphere of the politically charged state has heated up with the arrest of Trinamool Congress’s youth president Saayoni Ghosh. She was produced before the court on Monday.

Speaking to The Wire, Shankar Lodh, the counsel for Saayoni Ghosh, said that Ghosh was produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court where the CJM Soumya Bikas Das granted her bail with one surety and instructed her to appear before the investigation officer when summoned.

“During the hearing of the case, we told the court that there are no such ingredients on Sections 153 (A) and 307. The court has accepted our argument and granted her bail with one surety and Rs 20,000 bail bonds,” Lodh said.

He also said that no evidence was found against her and the police had failed to produce any report of injuries.

On Sunday, Tripura police arrested Ghosh on charges of promoting enmity between people, attempt to murder, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy. Speaking to reporters, West Tripura additional superintendent of police Jagadish Reddy had said that based on a complaint, Ghosh was summoned to the police station for interrogation.

“During interrogation, we found her involvement with the case registered under Section 153, 153A, 307 and 120B of the IPC. So, we have arrested her. We shall produce her before the court on Monday,” the police had said, adding that during interrogation, four more persons were found to be in the same vehicle as Ghosh on Saturday evening and police were trying to arrest them too.

Later on Saturday evening, a video of Ghosh had gone viral in which she was seen loudly shouting ‘Khela hobe (Game on)’ during a street corner meeting being addressed by BJP leader and chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb at Ashram Chowmuhani in Agartala. Following this, a complaint was filed against her at the East Agartala police station.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Rajya Sabha MP and TMC leader Sushmita Dev claimed that Ghosh was arrested on framed charges.

“The charge which was framed against her was false and fabricated. The main agenda is to disrupt the programme of AITC’s general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. It is totally a fake case. We sought permission for the roadshow and so the police are doing these things,” Dev had said.

She said the entire case is ‘concocted’ and the TMC will fight legally.

Ghosh’s advocate Shankar Lodh claimed that during the chief minister’s street corner meeting, someone chanted ‘Khela hobe’ when Ghosh was crossing the programme and she repeated the same.

“It’s a political slogan and it can’t be unconstitutional. If someone says he or she will kill someone, that might be unconstitutional,” he told reporters.

During Ghosh’s interrogation at the police station, a group of people gathered in front of the police station and allegedly attacked TMC workers and supporters, pelting stones at them. TMC leaders alleged that the attack was carried out by “BJP-backed goons”.

The additional SP said a suo moto case was registered against the miscreants.

Later on Sunday late evening, the residence of TMC state convener Subal Bhowmik was vandalised.

Reacting to this, law minister and BJP leader Ratan Lal Nath said the TMC, CPI(M) and Congress are hand-in-glove in a ‘shadow alliance’ and they are trying to malign Tripura and its government. On Ghosh’s arrest, Nath said she made “provocative and deliberate” comments during the chief minister’s poll rally to create unrest.

He claimed “hired hooligans and criminals” are being brought from Bengal to create disturbances in Tripura.

Asked about purported BJP activists who were seen attacking people near the East Agartala Women Police Station on Sunday, Nath said, “We are enquiring if any of our activists were involved. But we are getting reports that the TMC-CPIM-Congress shadow alliance was at work today.”

Meanwhile, the Assembly of Journalists in their press statement said that three journalists were injured during the attack on East Agartala police station while Ghosh was being interrogated.

On Monday morning, TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee arrived in Agartala and stated that the government is running a ‘jungle raj’ in Tripura.

“This is totally a jungle raj in the state. Journalists are coming under attack while collecting news, there are attacks on police. Law and order are nowhere. They can’t stop the TMC this way. I want to tell chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb that if he wants to show his anger, he can do it with me – why with the people of Tripura?” Banerjee said.

Claiming the condition of the state is very bad, Banerjee said, “Whenever I come here, they (BJP) try to stop me. At 12:30 pm the SDPO informed me that we can’t hold a rally today but can hold a street corner meeting. How is this possible?”

Banerjee said that more than 50 cases were registered on behalf of the TMC, but police didn’t bother to summon any of the culprits who attacked TMC leaders, supporters and candidates.

“What was the fault of Saayoni Ghosh? Narendra Modi has raised the same slogan – Khela hobe – in Bengali, why was he not arrested? Those who attacked our candidates, the police, journalists are roaming freely. More than 50 FIRs were registered. Not a single person was summoned. They are not following the orders of the Supreme Court.”

Note: This copy has been updated with Saayoni Ghosh getting bail and a quote from her lawyer Shankar Lodh.