Anticipatory Bail to Mukul Roy in TMC MLA Murder Case Extended

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Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court Tuesday extended by eight weeks protection from arrest to BJP leader Mukul Roy in connection with the killing of a Trinamool Congress MLA.

Hearing an anticipatory bail prayer by Roy, who was booked for conspiracy in the killing of Krishnaganj MLA Satyajit Biswas, the court directed that conditions imposed on Roy in the earlier order, including a bar on his entering Nadia district, would continue.

On February 13, when Roy’s application was moved before it, the court refused to grant anticipatory bail “at this stage” to the BJP leader, “keeping in mind the gravity of the crime”, but granted protection to him from arrest till March 7.

Appearing for the state, public prosecutor Saswata Mukherjee Tuesday submitted a progress report in sealed cover before the court and sought time to make its presentation against Roy’s prayer since some phone calls are being analysed by the investigators.

Roy’s counsels P S Patwari and Phiroze Edulji submitted that with the general elections to be held in a few months, the politician be allowed to enter Nadia district.

Hearing both the parties, the division bench comprising justices Joymalya Bagchi and M Mandal extended protection to Roy from arrest for eight weeks and fixed his application for hearing again on April 24.

The court observed that it appears that investigation is in progress and certain forensic reports are awaited.

It said there should be balancing between the requirements of investigation and liberty of the petitioner and as such Roy would not be allowed to enter Nadia district, within the jurisdiction of which the murder took place on February 9.

Roy had moved the anticipatory bail prayer before the high court after being named in an FIR as a conspirator in the killing of the MLA.

Biswas was shot dead inside a Saraswati puja marquee on February 9 near his house at Krishnaganj in Nadia district.

Three other accused persons named in the FIR have been arrested. Roy, once a very influential leader of the TMC and a close aide of party supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP in November 2017 following differences with her.

Directing the police not to arrest Roy till March 7, the division bench had observed during the earlier hearing 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 had also 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.