The Calcutta High Court on 2 August ordered immediate release from custody of Rakhal Bera, stated to be a close associate of Leader of Opposition in West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, while directing the police not to arrest him in any other case without the high court’s permission. Justice Rajasekhar Mantha observed that there appears to be a pattern being followed by the police in coordination with one another in attempting to keep the petitioner in custody by hook or by crook on one pretext or the other and by registering one FIR after the other.
“This court directs that the petitioner shall be forthwith released from custody,” Justice Mantha ordered. He directed that “all police stations in the State may register any FIR against the petitioner but he shall not be arrested without the express leave of this Court.” Directing Bera to co-operate in the investigation in all cases pending against him, the court ordered the state to submit a list of all cases pending against the petitioner anywhere in the state. Bera’s lawyers said that five cases were lodged against him on various charges.
The Calcutta High Court advised mentioning the matter six weeks henceforth for further hearing following the filing of an affidavit-in-opposition to Bera’s averments by the state and his reply to it if any. Lawyers representing Bera submitted before the court that he was enlarged on bail in connection with a case in Maniktala police station in Kolkata by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sealdah, on 23 July.
Before being released on bail in that case, another case was registered by Contai police station in Purba Medinipur district against the petitioner, on a similar allegation of the promise of a job in lieu of money and was arrested immediately thereafter, his lawyers stated. They claimed that the petitioner is being punished by the ruling dispensation for changing political affiliation and for being close to the present Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly by slapping false cases against him and that there are five cases registered against him.