MP with 13 cases against him, including murder, gets relief in one from SC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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MP with 13 cases against him, including murder, gets relief in one from SC

Jan 18, 2024 08:20 AM IST

An explainer on the five-year-old attempted murder case against MP Nisith Pramanik. The top court granted protection from arrest to the lawmaker

The Supreme Court recently granted protection from arrest to Union minister of state for home affairs Nisith Pramanik in a five-year-old attempt-to-murder case registered in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district.

Union minister of state Nisith Pramanik (Twitter/NisithPramanik) PREMIUM
Union minister of state Nisith Pramanik (Twitter/NisithPramanik)

At the time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP was with the Trinamool Congress (TMC). He joined the BJP in March 2019 and contested and won the Lok Sabha elections from Dinhata in Cooch Behar.

In May 2021, when Pramanik contested the West Bengal assembly polls, the affidavit submitted to the Election Commission of India revealed that at least 13 criminal cases were pending against him.

These include charges of murder, dacoity, attempt to murder, causing grievous hurt and theft among others. The former primary school assistant teacher hasn’t been convicted in any of the cases according to the affidavit.

“An attempt to murder case was filed against Nisith Pramanik in 2018 at Dinhata police station and sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 326 (causing grievous hurt) were issued,” said Aditi Shankar Chakraborty, additional public prosecutor at the Calcutta high court’s circuit bench at Jalpaiguri.

“Two rounds were fired in which two persons were injured. One of them was shot in the chest and another sustained a bullet injury in his hip. Both survived,” he added.

Police identified the two as Abul Kalam Azad and Azadul. While Azad was shot in the chest, Azadul was shot in the hip and is now wheelchair-bound. Both were residents of Gitaldaha village in Cooch Behar’s Dinhata.

“In 2018, just before the panchayat elections in the state, a clash broke out between two factions of the ruling Trinamool Congress. 
A few rounds were fired in which the duo got injured,” said a police officer.

Rabindranath Ghosh, a senior TMC leader and a former state minister, said that the party has been providing regular support to the two.

In the Supreme Court, senior advocate PS Patwalia explained Pramanik's apprehension of an imminent arrest, pointing to an arrest warrant issued by a magistrate in March last year. “He is also a minister of state. He is [concerned about] some embarrassment,” Patwalia stated in the court.

In January 2023, Pramanik surrendered before a court in Cooch Behar and received bail in a 14-year-old case pertaining to theft at two jewellery shops in 2009 when the Left Front was in power in West Bengal.

Pramanik was unreachable for comment. His counsel Sayak Chakraborty said: “There are no specific allegations against him. An incident had happened. A series of persons were named and he is one of them. This is happening every day. This is entirely political. His name was deliberately included.”

Pramanik’s affidavit also stated that a murder case is pending against him. While the attempted murder case was registered against him on August 14, 2018, at Dinhata police station, the murder case was registered by the same police station on April 4, 2018.

The cases were lodged between 2009 and 2020 and are all pending at various courts in North Bengal.

Pramanik started as a youth leader with the TMC. He climbed up the ladder to become one of the key leaders in the party in North Bengal. In 2018, however, he rebelled against the TMC and reportedly fielded 300 independent candidates against the party in that year’s panchayat elections. He joined the BJP in February 2019 and was fielded from Cooch Behar. He won the election.

In the 2021 assembly polls, the BJP bagged 30 of the 54 seats in the eight North Bengal districts although the TMC won 213 of the state’s 294 seats. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP bagged 18 of the state’s 42 seats. In North Bengal, it secured seven of the eight seats. Pramanik had contested both elections and won. Though the BJP won 30 assembly seats in North Bengal in 2021, its tally came down from 77 to 75 as two MLAs from North Bengal did not take oath and resigned from the assembly to retain their Lok Sabha seats. Pramanik was inducted into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet in July 2021 through a reshuffle, becoming the first-ever Union minister from Cooch Behar. Pramanik is also the first Rajbongshi to become a Union minister.

“Pramanik rose to prominence because of his organisational prowess and his connection with the Rajbongshi community. He was a strongman in the TMC and the BJP’s reply to TMC minister Udayan Guha in north Bengal,” said Biswanath Chakraborty, political commentator.

The Rajbongshi community, the largest Scheduled Caste (SC) group of West Bengal, forms around 30% of the population in north Bengal. They remained a strong support for the Left before shifting allegiance to the TMC in 2011. In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, however, the community backed the BJP.

Pramanik’s name hit headlines several times — in July 2021, Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora alleged through a social media post that Pramanik was a Bangladeshi citizen. The BJP, however, rubbished the allegation saying that Pramanik came to India from Bangladesh as a refugee.

 

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