Kolkata, Nov 15:
Several journalists sustained injuries when they were assaulted by the police who tried to prevent them from interacting with suspended Trinamool Congress MP and Saradha scam accused Kunal Ghosh outside a premier state government hospital.
Photojournalists who tried to take Ghosh’s pictures, as he was being taken out from an ambulance at the gates of the SSKM Hopsital, also bore the brunt of a cane-charge by the police.
Ghosh, admitted to the critical care unit of the hospital since early Friday after he claimed to have taken 30-40 sedatives to “commit suicide’ in the high security Presidency Jail, had been taken to the Bangur Institute of Neurology during the day for some medical tests.
Earlier while being taken out from SSKM and once he reached Bangur, the journos had managed to get Ghosh’s bytes where he demanded arrest of the “main culprits” who were “roaming outside freely.
“Those (who are) guilty, must be arrested immediately. They are roaming outside freely . They are using all their might to influence the probe. They are delaying it. They are wasting time,” Ghosh said from his stretcher during those brief interactions.
The Rajya Sabha member, who headed Saradha media arm before being arrested in November last year, has been for over one and half years alleging the involvement of several leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress, including its top brass in the chit fund scandal.
But Saturday, after television channels aired his comments, police deployment was intensified outside the gate of the SSKM, where Ghosh was brought back after the tests.
As Ghosh was being brought out from the ambulance, the journalists tried to move near him, but were stopped by the police, leading to an argument and then a scuffle with the security personnel.
It was then that the police resorted to a baton charge that left some journalists and photojournalists with minor injuries.
A police officer was seen using his cap to hide Ghosh’s face so that the media was unable to speak to him.
Though Ghosh protested, but a police officer almost pushed him on to a stretcher.
Deputy Commissioner of city police (South) Murlidhar Sharma promised action if he was shown a footage of any assault on journalists.
However, he claimed that the problem lay with media management .
“There was a need for proper media management here. But that was not in place. Probably we were not informed that so many mediapersons will assemble.”
When a scribe pointed out that he himself was at the spot when the trouble broke out, Murlidhar said: “I cannot see everywhere.”
Ghosh, now in judicial custody, had Monday threatened to to commit suicide if others involved in the scandal were not arrested within three days.
He, was rushed to the hospital around 3 a.m. Friday in a partially drowsy condition and admitted to the critical care unit.
Hospital director Pradip Mitra said Ghosh claimed that he had taken 30-40 Alprazolam tablets from the evening upto night time Friday “to take his own life”.
Ghosh’s purported suicide attempt has landed West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress government in the eye of a storm, with the opposition and legal luminaries questioning the administration’s lack of vigil in a high-security jail on an MP who had openly declared four days back that he would attempt suicide if those involved in the swindle were not rounded up within three days.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reacted by suspending jail officials and the on-duty hospital staff, while an FIR was filed against Ghosh in a city police station for attempting suicide.