Question-less cops give up Arabul

Calcutta, Jan. 25: Former Trinamul MLA Arabul Islam was today remanded in judicial custody till January 31 after police desisted from seeking his custody even though he had been interrogated for barely three hours.

Arabul, accused of leading assaults on CPM veteran Abdur Rezzak Mollah on January 6 and a Left convoy two days later, was discharged from SSKM Hospital around noon and was taken to Baruipur police station.

After being questioned for about an hour-and-a-half, the Bhangar strongman was produced in the Baruipur additional chief judicial magistrate's (AJCM) court, which was packed with his supporters.

However, both the public prosecutor and the assistant public prosecutor were absent. The official reason cited was that today was a state government holiday. The police submitted a petition stating they wanted Arabul to be remanded in judicial custody.

With no lawyer representing the government today, a battery of defence lawyers moved a bail prayer saying as the police did not want Arabul's custody, he should be granted the relief. Arabul was arrested on January 17.

Arabul had earlier got bail in the case related to the assault on Mollah. But he was charged with attempt to murder for the alleged attack on CPM cadres in Bamanghata and remanded in five days' police custody. After spending a day in the lock-up of Sonarpur police station, Arabul complained of chest pain and was taken to SSKM.

At the Baruipur court today, a section of lawyers questioned why the police did not seek Arabul's custody despite questioning him for only three hours.

"At Sonarpur police station, Arabul was questioned for a little over an hour by two officers," a lawyer said.

"After that, Arabul has been in hospital for the most part in the ICU. So the police could not question him. Today, he was interrogated by an additional superintendent of police for an hour-and-a-half. In such an important case, is three hours of questioning enough?"

Several lawyers said the police should have asked the court to send Arabul to their custody so that he could be questioned more rigorously. "From the beginning, it was evident that the police was not keen on pursuing the case against Arabul. First, they dragged their feet on arresting him and now, they don't not want to question him," a lawyer said.

Sushil Chakrabarty, the lawyer representing complainant Hashem Mollah in the Bamanghata attack case, argued that Arabul should be kept in police custody.

Arabul's lawyers questioned Chakrabarty's submission, saying only the public prosecutor could say so.

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