The Calcutta high court ordered on Monday a court-monitored Criminal Investigation Department (CID) probe against Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal for his remarks in Choumaha village, West Bengal, that he would kill and order his men to rape anyone who opposed his party.
Pal’s comments, which came to public attention after a video of his speech was leaked to the media on July 2, had sparked nationwide outrage, forcing West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to admonish the MP, though she later “forgave” him.
Taking note of his remarks, Justice Dipankar Datta of the Calcutta high court observed that Pal had “shown an evil tendency to become law unto himself” before ordering a court-monitored CID probe against the MP. “If this tendency is not nipped in the bud,” the judge said, “the situation would take a turn for the worse for the state.”
Datta also came down heavily on the state police for not registering an FIR against Pal for his inflammatory comments. “I wonder whether it is due to lack of fundamental knowledge of the criminal laws or a calculated move to save an MP being prosecuted that the case was not registered,” he observed.
Datta passed the order on a petition filed by Biplab Chowdhry, who had lodged a complaint with the Nakashipara Police station against Pal on July 2.
Meanwhile, ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on Monday declined to comment on the Calcutta high court order of filing an FIR against party MP Tapas Pal for his controversial comments against women and its direction that the CID probe the matter.
"No, I will not comment anything without seeing the order," TMC all India general secretary Mukul Roy told PTI.
The state BJP, on the other hand, welcomed the high court order.
"We welcome the high court order. We are grateful to the court for the order," state BJP leader Tathagata Roy said.
CPI(M) central committee member Suryakanta Mishra said "I hope that according to the court order the complaint would be treated as an FIR. I think he (Tapas Pal) should be arrested."
Pal had in an open letter tendered unconditional apology to the media and the public for his comments.
"Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign (2014 Lok Sabha polls) have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them," Pal had said in the written apology.
"And I assure you it will not happen again. Once more, a humble apology."
Justice Datta directed that the state CID would not disclose the report, which is to be submitted to the court on September 1, to anyone without its prior leave. He observed "Mr Pal and other MPs like him should know that they are under the rule of law and not law of rules".
"Mr Pal was a Bengali film actor and subsequently got elected as Member of Parliament twice, so he is an idol to many men," Datta observed.
(With agency inputs)