Advocate Protap Chandra Dey, husband of Justice Amrita Sinha, Calcutta High Court has written a letter to the President, Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Bar Association, Kolkata claiming harassment by the CID (Crime Investigation Department) officers at Bhawani Bhawan, Kolkata in the garb of investigation.

Justice Amrita Sinha has been hearing the matters involving Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee. The judge's husband has claimed that the police while questioning him in relation to a case was asking questions about his wife and that the police threatened to harm his wife and child.

Advocate Protap is a legal practitioner enrolled with the Bar Council of West Bengal and has been practicing law for nearly twenty-eight years. He is a member of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrates Bar Association and practices in the District Judiciary.

The letter reads, “On the basis of a complaint lodged by one Bani Roy Chowdhary against his family members, Bidhannagar PS started FIR/Case No. 238/23 dated 7th September, 2023. In the said complaint the name of one Protap Kumar Dey was mentioned. The name of my wife was also mentioned therein for my identification. I came to learn that the said case was later taken over by the CID for Investigation.”

It is mentioned in the letter that a notice under Section 160 of the CrPC was issued to the Advocate directing him to appear in the office of the Economic Offences Wing, CID, West Bengal on December 1, 2023, at about 11.30 am and on reaching the CID office after attending Court matters, he was treated like a criminal accused in some heinous crime. He claimed that he was interrogated by more than one officers and questions were asked only about his wife and her personal details.

“I clearly mentioned that I was not connected with the subject case and accordingly, it will not be possible for me to answer any questions in connection to the same. The officers told me that they were not interested with the case details, but wanted answers in respect of my wife. The video was switched on and off as per their desire and convenience. The torture and harassment went on for three and half hours. I was permitted to leave at about 3.30pm”, says the letter.

As per the letter, a further notice under Section 160 CrPC was served on the Advocate on December 14, 2023 directing him to appear and five CID officers, including the Officer- in-Charge came to his chamber to serve the notice at 8 p.m. after he returned from the Court. He immediately intimated the officers that it will not be possible for him to attend at the scheduled time as the same was a working day for him and hence, was told that he may attend at any time between 11 am and 7 pm.

“Being a law abiding and responsible citizen of the country I felt it was my duty to cooperate with the investigation even though I knew that I did not have much to depose as I was not connected with the case. … I went to the CID office after finishing the Court's work at 2.04 pm. The moment I reached there the CID officers started interrogating me. They behaved like local goons. They shouted at the top of their voice; not a single decent language was used. All slang and filthy expletives. The camera was not switched on continuously. They put tremendous pressure to depose against my wife. As I refused to give any statement against her, the torture increased manifold”, read the letter.

It was stated that his statements that were recorded were neither shown to him nor signed by him on none of the two days and that he was shown the statement given under Section 164 CrPC by one of the witnesses of the said case and pressurized to depose in the same line of the statement. The letter further says that all irrelevant questions were asked with the sole intention to create an atmosphere of fear and psychosis to break him under pressure.

Furthermore, the letter claims, “I was offered huge sum of money, expensive cars, luxurious residential apartments and many others which I am ashamed to mention. I was threatened with dire consequences if I failed to depose as per their advice. My wife and child has also been threatened. They disclosed that they were acting as per the advice of their superior authority. If I failed to tow their line, they would ruin my entire family by butchering us into pieces. … The torture continued till 11.05 pm and they told that they will not let me go till I give satisfactory replies to the queries put by them. They disclosed their intension to hold me back for the entire night and if instruction is received from the superior officer, they can arrest me in false cases and put me behind bars. The insult and torture went up to such extent that I broke down at one point of time. The officers were hell bent to harm and injure me physically. They pounced upon me on a number of times to assault me only to put me under tremendous pressure and force to extract false statement from me to frame my wife with charge of corruption.”

The Advocate claimed that he did not take food for such long hours and despite informing that he was required to take medicines, they least bothered to leave him. He said that he was feeling extremely unwell and uncomfortable in such a vicious atmosphere and had it been a bit longer, he would have collapsed after some time. He was interrogated for three and half hours on the first day and thereafter nine hours at a stretch on the second day and the Officer in Charge, EWO, Pallab Kumar Ganguly deliberately refused to mention the time of his release on the plea that he did not have instruction from the higher authority and prior to release, they issued two further notices.

“They were not satisfied with torturing me for nearly twelve and half hours and they want to continue with the torture further. You are requested to kindly preserve the cv tv footage of the main entrance of Bhawani Bhawan on 16.12.2023 from 11 pm to 11.20 pm. … The inhuman torture meted out to an advocate who is not connected to the case is absolutely illegal and strict action should be taken against the same. An advocate has every right to defend a litigant if the litigant executes vakalatnama in his/her favour. But the CID does not have any right to harass and heckle me in connection with any case with which I am not connected. The whole intension was to malign and damage the reputation of me and my family”, the letter concluded.

Therefore, the Advocate has requested to take prompt necessary action against the wrongdoers and protect the interest of the Bar and said that if no action is taken, then such type of incidents may recur in future.