The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday asked the West Bengal Police to refrain from arresting Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mukul Roy till March 7 in connection with a murder case of Trinamool Congress MLA Satyajit Biswas, PTI reported. The court declined Roy’s anticipatory bail “at this stage” while considering the “gravity of the crime”.

The court scheduled the next hearing for March 5. The division bench comprising justices Joymalya Bagchi and M Mandal ordered Roy not to enter Nadia district until further orders. The BJP leader will only be allowed to enter the district only if he is needed during the investigation or to attend court proceedings.

On Tuesday, Roy had applied for anticipatory bail, a day after he was booked along with three others.

Biswas was a legislator from Krishnagunj in West Bengal’s Nadia district. He was attending a Saraswati Puja function in Phulbari when he was killed. The prime assailant, identified as Abhijit Pundari, is absconding. The two other accused – Kartik Mondal and Sujit Mondal – have been arrested and were sent to 14 days in police custody on February 10, PTI reported. They are believed to have links with the saffron party.

Allegations and counter allegations

Trinamool’s Nadia chief Gourishankar Dutta has accused the BJP of having a role in the murder. Roy joined the BJP from the Trinamool Congress in 2017.

BJP state President Dilip Ghosh has denied the allegation and claimed that Biswas was victim of a factional fight in the ruling party. Ghosh has asked for a CBI investigation, saying his party does not have faith in the state police.

On February 10, Roy had tweeted his condolences to Biswas’ family. “I demand a neutral investigation into such a heinous crime,” Roy had tweeted. “I also believe that no one from the BJP is involved in this crime caused by TMC infighting. They are desperately trying to frame BJP workers on false charges.”