Bengal minister under contempt of court cloud

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 04, 2012 13:50 hrs

Kolkata, Dec 4 (IANS) West Bengal minister Becharam Manna was Tuesday asked by the Calcutta High Court why contempt of court proceedings may not be initiated against him for his alleged remarks on its verdict on a Singur land dispute.

The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Pratap Kumar Roy and Justice Subol Baidya directed the minister of state for agriculture to appear in court Dec 18 and give his version on the remarks he allegedly made at a public rally in Hooghly district's Singur Dec 2.

Senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, pleading on behalf of lawyers who brought the matter to the notice of the court, said the comments "directly interfered with the administration of justice and was an effort to scandalise the judiciary's image".

Bhattacharya placed newspaper clippings before the court about Manna's alleged remarks at the rally and the judges took suo motu cognisance of the issue.

The bench directed the newspapers which published the report and television channels that telecast the programme to file affidavit before the court and submit materials collected by their journalists.

Singur was on the boil after the erstwhile Left Front government acquired 997 acres of land for a car factory of Tata Motors at Singur in 2006.

Led by Banerjee, who was in the opposition at that time, a section of peasants launched a movement alleging the land was taken against their will and demanded the return of 400 acres to those not wanting to part with their land.

The automobile company decided to shift the project to Gujarat in October 2008.

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