The Supreme Court Tuesday granted protection from arrest in all cases registered against former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, who had recently joined the BJP. A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri said no coercive action should be taken against her and posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.
Ghosh, once considered close to Mamata Banerjee, had moved the apex court seeking protection from arrest, saying the West Bengal government has registered 10 FIRs against her. She said that apex court had already granted protection from arrest in seven cases but the state has registered three more FIRs against her.
The West Bengal government opposed the plea of Ghosh and said there are clear evidences against her and submitted a transcript of a purported conversation between Ghosh and her personal security officer. The apex court had on October 1, last year granted her protection from arrest in a case of alleged extortion and illegal exchange of banned notes for gold.
In a previous hearing, counsel appearing for Ghosh had said that seven FIRs have been lodged against her in an incident which dates back to 2016 in which allegedly gold was taken for currency. He had said that police has been acting against her at different places and they should be restrained from taking any coercive action.
However, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the West Bengal government had opposed the plea and said she wants stay of arrest on a writ petition, which cannot be done. He had said Ghosh and her Personal Security Officer were allegedly involved in the gold extortion case and other cases and they both acted together.
Sibal had said she was already granted protection from arrest in October, last year. On February 4, Ghosh had joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and senior party leader Kailash Vijayvargiya alleging that "thugocracy" has replaced democracy in the West Bengal.
Ghosh, who was the West Midnapore Superintendent of Police for more than six years, was transferred as commandant of the third battalion of the state armed police on December 26, 2017. She resigned from service two days later. She was once considered close to Banerjee and was also awarded a service medal on August 15, 2014.
Ghosh was transferred twice, once by the Election Commission before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the second time by the state itself before the 2016 Assembly elections. She was, however, reinstated as West Midnapore SP as soon as the elections got over on both occasions.
An arrest warrant was issued against Ghosh in February, 2018 in connection with an extortion case registered at Daspur police station in West Midnapore district, following her resignation. The CID, probing cases relating to alleged extortion and misconduct against Ghosh, had also conducted raids at various properties, including a house in Kolkata that belongs to her husband M A V Raju.
A few police officers of inspector and sub-inspector ranks have been arrested by the CID in connection with the probe.