Kolkata Police on Tuesday once again summoned Union minister Babul Supriyo in a case filed against him by Trinamool Congress MLA Mahua Maitra, after Supriyo, during a debate on a television channel, asked Maitra whether she was “drunk”.
Supriyo, the Union minister of state for heavy industries, was asked to be present at the Alipore police station, but he informed Kolkata Police that he would not able to do so on Tuesday due to his ministerial preoccupations.
The incident is being seen as the result of escalating tension between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP in West Bengal.
Following Mitra’s complaint, police slapped a case against the Lok Sabha member from Asansol under section 309 of the Indian Penal Code that relates to use of obscene words or gestures against a woman.
The police action comes against the backdrop of the BJP’s state vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar being arrested by Bidhannagar police for allegedly taking money from examinees in a teacher’s eligibility test.
Majumdar’s arrest was seen as a tit-for-tat in response to the arrest of two TMC MPs, Tapas Paul and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In recent public meetings, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had referred to such moves against BJP leaders in the state.
Incidentally, this was the second time that Kolkata Police summoned Supriyo. Summons was also issued for Supriyo to be present on January 12, but the Union minister had refused to comply citing preoccupations with Sansad Mela in his constituency Asansol.
The entire controversy started after Supriyo, during a debate on a television channel, in which Maitra was also participating, asked whether she was drunk.
The topic of the debate was the arrest of Trinamool MPs, Sudip Bandopadhyay (on January 3) and Tapas Pal (on December 30, 2016) by the CBI in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam.
Maitra took offense at Supriyo’s comment and filed a complaint against the Union minister, alleging that he insulted her on a media platform.
After the complaint was filed, Supriyo said the Trinamool legislator was behaving in a “childish” manner.
Incidentally, Supriyo has too filed defamation cases in New Delhi against Trinamool MPs Saugata Roy and Tapas Pal, after his house at Kolkata was attacked by alleged Trinamool activists protesting against the arrests of the two party MPs.
Leaders of two other opposition parties in West Bengal, Left Front and Congress, took the issue lightly.
“Every day, BJP and Trinamool leaders are getting involved in fights. We are watching the theatrics every day,” said state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.