Sayani Ghosh, the Bengali actor and president of the youth wing of Trinamool Congress who was arrested by the Tripura Police on Sunday on charges of attempt to murder, promoting enmity between people, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy, was granted bail on Monday evening.
The West Tripura Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court granted the actor bail with a surety bond of Rs 20,000, as per The Indian Express.
Prior to her arrest, an FIR was registered at the East Agartala Police Station alleging that Ghosh caused disturbance at Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s municipal poll rally in the Ashram Chowmuhani area on Saturday.
Ghosh had shared a video on Saturday, in which she is seen passing by Deb’s rally exclaiming that a chief minister’s meeting has merely 50 people and replying “khela hobe” (game is on) to people shouting the same outside. The video also shows that people tried to attack the car she was in and pelted stones at them. “The car is slightly injured but I, Sudip Raha (State spokesperson West Bengal Trinamool Congress), Arpita Ghosh (MP) are unharmed,” Ghosh wrote.
Addressing the media on Sunday, West Tripura Additional SP Jagadish Reddy said, “We received a complaint against her and summoned her for interrogation. After recording the statement of witnesses, we found evidence that she was involved in connection with the case registered under Sections 153, 153A, 307 and 120B of the IPC. So, we have arrested her. We shall produce her before the court tomorrow.”
When asked whose attempted murder Ghosh was charged with, Reddy said it was not any specific person but about driving the car on Saturday through the meeting. He also mentioned that the police were trying to arrest the driver of the car and the four others travelling with her.
Before her bail was granted, West Bengal TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh had said, “This is a baseless allegation. Saayoni is a known face. Spotting her in a car, someone said ‘didi, khela hobe’ (sister, game is on). She said ‘haan, khela hobe’. This can’t be the ground for a case and arrest. She was arrested in an ugly way and now the police aren’t producing her in court. So we can’t move for bail.”
TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev had said that the actual motive behind the attempt to murder charges was “to disrupt TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee’s rally” the following day. “This entire case is concocted. We shall legally fight it. We are with Saayoni. She is a brave girl.”
Dev also mentioned that the police went to Ghosh’s hotel on Saturday night asking her to report to the police station, which she did on Sunday.
Ghosh’s counsel, Shankar Lodh, said that someone from the chief minister’s meeting said ‘Khela Hobe’ and Ghosh repeated the same. “It’s a political slogan and it can’t be unconstitutional.”
During the interrogation of Ghosh at the police station, a group of miscreants assembled nearby and attacked, injuring two people. Ghosh and other TMC leaders have alleged that the attack was BJP-backed. Ghosh further alleged that her arrest was a trap and the police had escorted her to the police station so that the BJP-backed goons could attack her and their upcoming rallies could be blocked.
During the attack near the police station, a journalist who claimed to have come from Kolkata to cover the news was also allegedly attacked.
Recently, several journalists, activists and lawyers were booked, detained and arrested under the harsh anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), for tweeting about and reporting on the communal violence in Tripura.
A delegation of 16 TMC MPs reached Delhi on Monday morning to stage a dharna protesting the recent events. They also sought an appointment with Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the “brutal attacks on TMC” and the fact that “even members of media [were] clobbered in Tripura,” said TMC MP Derek O’Brien.