West Bengal’s criminal investigation department submitted a chargesheet in court on Thursday against Trinamool Congress legislator Tapas Pal in a 2014 hate speech case where the former actor allegedly threatened CPI(M) supporters with rape and murder.
The document finds the Krishnanagar MP guilty of criminal intimidation and insulting the modesty of a woman – offences that carry a maximum sentence of seven and one year respectively – roughly a year after the infamous speech.
"If any CPI(M) man is present here, listen to me. If you ever touch any Trinamool worker or their families, you have to pay. I will shoot you guys if a Trinamool worker is ever attacked. I will let loose my boys in your homes and they will commit rape,” Pal said in a public meeting in Nadia district on June 14 last year.
The 56-year-old held such rallies in four villages -- Choumaha, Teghari, Haranagar and Gopinathpur -- where he issued similar threats.
Days later, a video capturing Pal issuing the threats went viral, sparking a storm of criticism from politicians and civil society. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee was also embarrassed after the incident but forgave Pal in a party meeting after he apologised.
A flurry of legal cases ensued as the case first moved to a single-judge bench of the Calcutta high court that ruled against the MP. The state government then appealed to a two-judge division bench that was split in its opinion, leading the case to go to judge Nishita Mhatre.
In July 2014, she ordered the CID to lodge a police complaint in the case and criticised the ruling party for extending special favours to its legislator, causing unease within the Trinamool that was already grappling with the fallout of the multi-crore Saradha scam.
The CID has submitted as proof video clips, newspaper clippings, testimony of villagers and the statement of the MP. Sources said Pal had refused to give his voice sample for examination, a denial that went against him.