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West Bengal Cottage and Industries Minister resigns

Special Correspondent

Narayan Biswas is charged with arson in 1998 in South Dinajpur district


  • He should have resigned earlier: Congress
  • Decision due to mounting public pressure: BJP
  • The law will take its course, says CPI(M)

    Kolkata: West Bengal Minister for Cottage and Small Scale Industries Narayan Biswas, charged with arson in his home district of South Dinajpur in 1988, has resigned.

    Mr. Biswas tendered his resignation to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who said here on Monday that it had been sent to Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi. Mr. Biswas will surrender in court two days after his resignation is accepted.

    Arrest warrant issued

    An anticipatory bail order, recalled by a division bench of the Calcutta High Court on October 7, has been referred to Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar for adjudication. Earlier, a lower court rejected his appeal for anticipatory bail. An arrest warrant has been issued against him.

    The indictment of Mr. Biswas created a stir with the Opposition parties accusing the State Government of shielding the "absconding" Minister. Leaders of both the Trinamool Congress and the Congress said Mr. Biswas resigned under public pressure and should have done so earlier. The Bharatiya Janata Party also felt his decision was the result of mounting public pressure.

    "A political conspiracy"

    Both Mr. Bhattacharjee and Anil Biswas, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), rubbished the charge. "He is the victim of a political conspiracy, and the law will take its own course," Mr. Anil Biswas said, dismissing suggestions that the Minister was forced by the party to resign.

    Mr. Narayan Biswas was only a member of the CPI(M)'s South Dinajpur district committee when he, along with a few others, were charged with attacking the houses of political rivals.

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