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Non-bailable warrant against Mamata

Though the warrant was reportedly issued about a month ago, its execution was ordered on Wednesday.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2006 20:53 IST

A non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued against Trinamool Congress chief and MP Mamata Banerjee along with six other leaders in a case dating back to February 1994.

Though the warrant was reportedly issued about a month ago, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Siddhartha Roychowdhury in Barasat in North 24 Parganas on Wednesday ordered execution of its direction.

The case that was registered after one person died in police firing on February 22, 1994 on a law-violation programme of Youth Congress led by Banerjee.

She and her associates had allegedly resorted to ransacking of the district magistrate's office and other violent activities on that day but in the past 12 years the case was in cold storage.

Despite several summons in the case, neither Mamata nor other leaders appeared before the court, forcing the magistrate to issue arrest warrant on December 7, 2005 and again directing the police to execute the order.

The Trinamool leaders, all of whom were with the Congress party in 1994, had maintained that they would not appear before the court and instead prefer arrest.

The court order comes in the run-up to assembly elections in West Bengal and its execution would mean political mileage for the firebrand Trinamool leader who is trying to forge a grand alliance with the Congress, other opposition parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to dislodge the ruling Left Front.

The 1994 Congress programme at Barasat's Kachari Maidan was attended by senior Trinamool Congress leaders like Sougata Roy and Shobhandev Chattopadhayay among others, against whom summons were also issued.

Roy said, "We had always maintained that we would not surrender and instead court arrest because we had neither committed dacoity or set a house on fire like Narayan Biswas (of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist)."

"The order came after 12 years and at a time when elections are round the corner. It is a travesty of the legal and police system in the Left rule and if Mamata is arrested it would be counter-productive for the Left Front and people would go more against them," he said.

Banerjee was not available for comment immediately.

First Published: Jan 04, 2006 20:22 IST