Asansol BJP leader denied anticipatory bail by HC, likely to be arrested


Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday refused to grant anticipatory bail to BJP leader and councillor of the Asansol Municipal Corporation Chaitali Tiwari and three others in a case relating to a stampede during a blanket distribution ceremony in Asansol on December 14, 2022. Three people had died in the stampede.

The police had brought charges against Tiwari and the others on the basis of a complaint by the son of one of the victims. Tiwari, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Asansol Municipal Corporartion, had then moved the High Court, praying for quashing of the charges.

She also moved another bench of the court, praying for anticipatory bail.

While the High Court refused to quash the charges against her, it did grant her protection from arrest till the bench decided her anticipatory bail plea.

Among the accusations against Tiwari and the others was that they issued coupons for 6,000 blankets but purchased only 3,000.

They were apparently aware that the venue could not accommodate so many people.

It has also been alleged that they faked a permission letter from the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL) and even produced it in court to obtain a favourable order.

Senior advocate Sekhar Kr. Basu, appeared for the petitioners and submitted that they had no role to play in the whole incident.

He also maintained that a local electrician had been engaged to obtain the permission from WBSEDCL and he was the one responsible for the fake document.

Advocate Phiroze Edulji, appearing for the de-facto complainant, countered these submissions and pointed out that no police permission was sought for the event and the organisers, including Tiwari, continued to distribute blankets even as the stampede took place.

They also attempted to mislead the judiciary by producing a fake permission letter and deserve no relief, he submitted. The state also opposed the anticipatory bail prayers.

After hearing all sides, the bench of Justice Debangsu Basak and Justice Md. Shabbar Rashidi turned down the petitioners’ prayers for anticipatory bail.

The court did not pass any order on the merits of the case though.

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( With inputs from )

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