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Bengal government moves high court in toongate case

Kolkata, April 22 (IANS) The West Bengal government on Tuesday contested a Calcutta High Court single-judge bench’s earlier order to shell out compensation to Jadavpur university professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who was arrested in 2012 for circulating emails mocking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“I know very well the anti-democratic mindset of our chief minister Mamata Banerjee,” Mahapatra said, adding he was not surprised at the state government’s move.

“But I hope the division bench will throw away the appeal,” said Mahapatra about the state government appeal to a division bench of the Calcutta High Court.

Last month, a single-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court upheld the West Bengal Human Rights Commission’s recommendation to pay compensation to Mahapatra.

Mahapatra had moved the bench of Justice Dipankar Datta after the Banerjee government in May 2013 turned down the commission’s recommendation to pay a compensation of Rs.50,000 to the chemistry professor of Jadavpur University, contending that there wasn’t any human rights violation in the case.

Upholding the commission’s recommendation, Justice Datta directed the state government to pay the compensation within 30 days from the receipt of his order.

He also upheld the panel’s decision to initiate a departmental inquiry against two police officers who had arrested Mahapatra.

The court directed the state government to pay Rs.50,000 each to Mahapatra and his neighbour Subrata Sengupta towards legal expenses.

The chemistry professor along with Sengupta was arrested in 2012 for circulating emails mocking Banerjee and former railway minister Mukul Roy.

The collage of cartoons by Mahapatra had the photographs of Banerjee and Roy with some dialogues of Satyajit Ray’s detective masterpiece “Sonar Kella”, showing the duo discussing how to get rid of party leader Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced by the chief minister to give up the railways portfolio.

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