The Kolkata Police on Wednesday questioned actor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mithun Chakraborty for his comments during a campaign rally for the Assembly polls held between April and May, reported NDTV.
The 71-year-old actor, who was one of the BJP’s star campaigners in the election, was questioned virtually by the police in relation to a case against him for the remarks he made on March 7 after joining the saffron party.
On March 7, Chakraborty, who is a former Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP, had joined the BJP during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Kolkata. The actor served as a Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP before resigning in December 2016, citing ill health.
At the rally, Chakraborty had addressed the crowd with dialogues from his movies. He enacted his most famous dialogue “Marbo ekhaney...laash porbay shoshaney [I will hit you here, and the body will be found in a crematorium]”.
Another dialogue that he shouted was: “Aami joldhorao noi, bele borao noi...aami ekta jaat cobra, ek chhobol-ei chhobi [I am not a harmless snake...I am a pure cobra, one that will kill you with one strike].”
A first information report alleged that Chakraborty’s speech had instigated the post-poll violence in West Bengal after the results were declared on May 2.
The virtual questioning of Chakraborty by Manicktala police station officers began around 10 am on Wednesday, The Telegraph reported. The actor is currently in Pune, Maharashtra. “Till the last information was received, the questioning was still underway,” an officer told PTI.
On June 11, the Calcutta High Court had asked Chakraborty to coordinate with the police for questioning in the case against him related to the post-poll violence. The bench will take up the matter again on June 18.
“In the meantime, the petitioner or his advocate-on-record would communicate the e-mail address of the petitioner to the State so that for the purpose of interrogation or answering any query of the investigating officer, the petitioner can make himself available by way of video-conference,” the court said, according to Live Law.
Post-poll violence in West Bengal
West Bengal witnessed a spell of incidents of violence following election results on May 2. The BJP and the ruling Trinamool Congress blamed each other for the deaths of multiple party workers. Various news reports put the toll between 11 and 14, but the police did not confirm the numbers.
Petitions have been filed in courts for an independent inquiry into the violence. The petitioners have alleged that 18 political activists died, sexual violence was committed against women, and acts of loot, arson and destruction took place owing to the indifference of the state government. They sought the deployment of central forces to restore law and order in the state and setting up of a fast-track court.
On Monday, the state government told the Supreme Court that the petitions were misleading and politically motivated. It also refuted accusations of inaction and complicity in the violence.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee’s administration has been at loggerheads with West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has repeatedly pushed the state government to look into the violence and take accountability. On Tuesday, Dhankhar tweeted a letter that he wrote to Banerjee, in which he accused her of being silent about the violence after Assembly elections in the state.