KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered a stay on all further proceedings in a case of alleged tarpaulin theft against Leader of Opposition in West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari and his brother Soumendu.
Passing the interim order, Justice Kausik Chanda observed that the political overtones of this criminal case cannot be brushed aside.
The court ordered that there will be a stay on all further proceedings pending before the additional chief judicial magistrate, Contai, Purba Medinipur district, till six weeks after the ensuing Puja vacation.
Justice Chanda directed that the opposite party may file affidavits-in-opposition within two weeks after the Puja vacation.
The court said the petitioners may file affidavits in reply within another week after that.
The petition of Suvendu and Soumendu, a former chairman of Contai Municipality, praying for quashing of proceedings against them in connection with the case in Contai police station will be taken up for hearing again four weeks after Puja vacation, the court directed.
P S Patwalia, senior advocate appearing for Suvendu Adhikari submitted that the petitioners had been implicated in this case since they had changed their political affiliation from the ruling Trinamool Congress to the opposition BJP.
Senior advocate Kishore Datta, representing the state, submitted that since the complaint discloses cognizable offences, it is mandatory for the police to lodge an FIR.
Observing that political overtones of this present criminal case cannot be brushed aside with both the petitioners having left the ruling party and joined the opposition party, the court said that the present criminal proceeding is one of the contemporaneous criminal cases launched against Suvendu Adhikari soon after the change of his political affiliation.
Justice Chanda also took note of an earlier order of another bench of the high court wherein it had said "Prima facie there appears to be an attempt at implicating and victimising him (Suvendu Adhikari) in criminal cases and mala fides, malice and collateral purpose in registering the FIRs against the petitioner and his associates."
It was claimed by Suvendu Adhikari's lawyers that at least six criminal cases have been lodged against him at various police stations in the state since he changed his political affiliation.