A Jadavpur University chemistry professor was arrested on Thursday evening for circulating a picture spoof on Trinamool Congress boss Mamata Banerjee and railway minister Mukul Roy.
The charge against the professor, Ambikesh Mahapatra, is that he had sent emails with the spoof, parodying Satyajit Ray's detective flick, Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress).
The spoof, which is being widely circulated on the internet, has lines from the film, in which a boy called Mukul is duped by two criminals into believing that they caused a “wicked man” — who is actually a good person — to “vanish”. In the spoof, the “wicked man” who has “vanished” is former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, forced out of office by Banerjee in March.
Banerjee said, "If one commits an offence, one has to face arrest. Conspiracies won't be tolerated." But Mahapatra said, "I am not repentant for my act."
Mahapatra, who has been teaching at the university for 17 years, later said Trinamool supporters stormed his house on Thursday evening and forced him to confess in writing that he had sent the e-mail as he was a CPI(M) supporter. He was granted bail on a personal bond of R500 by a city court on Friday.
Along with Mahapatra, his neighbour Subrata Sengupta was arrested because the former used his e-mail. Sengupta is the secretary of the housing society in which Mahapatra lives.
Both labour minister Purnendu Bose and transport minister Madan Mitra, however, defended the police action, saying the e-mail was in bad taste. "Jadavpur University is becoming a hotbed of wannabe Maoists under the guise of academics. Investigation would reveal it easily," Mitra said.
However, rebel Trinamool Congress MP Kabir Suman slammed the police for the arrest.