The Calcutta High Court on Thursday granted pre-trial release on bail to BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvarja, Jisnu Basu and Pradeep Joshi in the case of alleged assault on a woman and criminal intimidation. The petitioners had appealed an order of the Chief Justice, Alipore, ordering the filing of the FIR against them.

The complainant alleged that the petitioners raped her in an apartment here on 29 November 2018, and that she too was assaulted. An apportionment panel comprising Justices Harish Tandon and K Chanda has directed that in the event of arrest, Vijayvargiya, Basu and Joshi will be released on provisional bail on presentation of a bond of Rs 10,000 each, with two guarantees of the same amount each, one of which shall be local, satisfactory The officer who arrested him.

Temporary bail will remain in effect until October 25, the leave court ordered, adding that the petitioners would not tamper with evidence and intimidate witnesses in any way.

The matter will appear before the available leave platform on October 25. Noting that the complaints registered by the woman did not reveal the alleged gang crime, the court said that “these complaints were made on the basis of a separate set of facts where there is no whisper about gangs committed by the petitioners.” The court also said that even those complaints after being investigated, were dropped from the closing record filed by the investigating officer, because the materials found during the investigation did not instill confidence or meet the requirements of the law. On December 20, 2019, the woman filed complaints at Sarsona Police Station here and at Pulpur Police Station in Birbhum District under IPC departments for assault and criminal intimidation.

She had applied before CJM, Alipore on November 12, 2020, requesting an investigation into the matter, but the court rejected her links. The woman then applied for criminal review to the Supreme Court, challenging the lower court order.

One body of the Supreme Court permitted the application, and the CJM’s order was overturned, Alipore and returned for reconsideration. CJM, on October 8, 2021, directed that the complaint be treated as an FIR.

Vijayvargia, Basu and Joshi have submitted their pre-emptive bail requests to the Supreme Court, and were arrested in connection with the case. Senior Advocate Mahesh Jathmalani, when presenting on behalf of Vijayvargia, stressed that in the two FIRs/complaints filed by the woman, not a single whisper could be ascertained as to the seriousness of the alleged offense in her application to the Court of First Instance.

Appearing before Basu, Senior Advocate B. Attorney General Saswata Gopal Mukherjee, representing the state, disputed the petitioners’ claim, arguing that there were serious allegations against them by the alleged victim.

In order to reveal the truth, he said, a custodial interrogation was required against the petitioners. The department noted that the Supreme Court’s Single Circuit order has been appealed to the Supreme Court, the attorney general has reported, and the case is likely to be listed on October 20.

As the matter largely depends on the outcome of the special leave petition before the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs should not be deprived of their personal liberty until this time, the court said.

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