SC grants protection from arrest to BJP candidate

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted protection from arrest to Arjun Singh, the BJP candidate from Barrackpore Parliamentary constituency, in criminal cases lodged against him after he left TMC. He wanted to be present during the counting of votes of general elections 2019, scheduled for May 23.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah declined to consider his anticipatory bail plea, saying that he could approach the court concerned. “We will not grant him bail but protect him from arrest,” the bench said.

The court granted him seven days protection, beginning May 23 to May 29 as Singh, represented by senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, contended that as many as 11 cases were registered against him in May itself as he joined from ruling TMC to the BJP.

The counsel contended that the state government had turned vindictive and many as 20 cases were slapped against Singh. He also submitted that the courts were not functioning in the state due to strike by lawyers since April 25.

Advocate Astha Sharma, appearing for the West Bengal government, opposed the plea, contending that Singh himself had disclosed about eight criminal cases faced by him in his election affidavit. The cases lodged him related to arson, violence and possession of illegal arms.

The court, however, said violence has become common in West Bengal. For no issues, people fought and some were protected and some not. Those who indulged in violence did not have any political affiliation, whosoever came to power those people joined them.

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