Release of J. P. Das on bail is no solution; Chief Minister ought to clarify, why the editor has escaped police action

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Court granted bail to the Samaja reporter J. P. Das on January 18. A representative of the newspaper Samaja, purported to be its Law Officer rushed to Chaudwar Jail with the bail order within a very short time and at around 3 PM got Sri Das released from the jail and sped back to drop him at his residence at Cuttack.

This is unprecedented.

This is entirely different from the age-old judicial-jail practice.

Judicial-Jail practice

Bail granted, the Court’s order usually reaches the court office without any trace of haste and stage by stage slowly proceeds to the dealing staff, who with habitual dawdling prepares the documents to be sent to the jail, which the jail staff responsible for transportation of prisoners from jail to the court and back in the jail vehicle usually carry and therefore, prisoners on bail always get released in the evening after the jail lorry reaches the jail or on the next day.

But here, this judicial-jail practice was entirely tampered with.

Why?

Is it because, the Samaja management was in a hurry to whisk away Das from the jail before the trade union of Samaja employees – Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association – reaches the jail to receive him?

Was it because, the samaja management knows that Das was made a scapegoat to save its top brass?

Was it because, the Samaja management was apprehensive of further exposure of its misdeeds unless Das was released from the jail with speedy delivery of the court oder by special messenger organized by the management?

Was it because, the management was eager to pacify Das and gain him over by convincing him of its concern for him, so that the real culprits – the executive editor et al – escape counter allegation by Das?

The judge should study the shenanigans that led to his court-office’s different treatment to bail of Das and contravention of the judicial-jail practice.

The case should have been dismissed

Had law taken its proper course, the case against Das should have been dismissed, because for the alleged offense there was no allegation against him in the FIR that had led to his arrest and legally he was not to be held responsible for the alleged offense.

Judicial conscience woke up and he got the bail; but prosecution has not withdrawn the case and therefore, he is to face trial for the offense, which he has not committed. So, release of Das on bail is no solution to his suffering. Law has been misused against him. Such misuse of law is masterminded by editorial and management controllers of the Samaja and executed by the police.

Chief Minister ought to answer

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should ask the Director General of Police as to when the Press Laws stipulate that the editor is responsible for any news published in the newspaper, why the police had arrested and sent to jail a trainee reporter whose job is not editing at all.

As I have informed in the preceding report basing on inputs from the tortured reporter, executive editor Satya Ray called him to meet him immediately in the cantonment police station, Cuttack. A disciplined worker, he had come there to meet him. Ray introduced him to the police officer-in-charge and immediately left, whereafter he was declared arrested. We suspect, the police had apprehended the executive editor and in that, had taken the correct step. But what happened that he was allowed to escape and Das was made the scapegoat?

We need an answer to this question from the CM.

We know, the CM is partnering with the Samaja; and because of this, the police is not daring to take any action against the illegal controllers of the paper despite direction from the High Court.

Therefore, in the instant case, the CM should clarify if his office has no role in protecting the real culprits of the Samaja and correspondingly, instituting the false case against Das.

We do not know if he knows or not, his secretary Sri Pandian had forced the labor minister Bijayasree Rautray to untimely transfer the District Labor Officer of Cuttack, for ii was he who had recommended an Industrial Dispute for adjudication against the Samaja management and had entertained several allegations from workers whom the Samaja authorities have kept as casual workers despite their rendering regular service for decades. and a lot more, whom they have been torturing by way of enforced idleness, denial of salary, denial of entry to workplace, illegal transfers and suspension from service, criminal intimidation etcetera.

It cannot be accepted that the recent communal unrest generated by the Samaja editor and publisher is not known to the CM. So the CM cannot say that he is not aware of the wrong steps the police has taken against Das. He is only to clarify, why police has not taken the required steps against the executive editor and the publisher of the Samaja.

He should divulge the reason.

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