The Supreme Court Wednesday granted protection from arrest till May 28 to Arjun Singh, the BJP candidate from Barrackpore constituency in West Bengal, in criminal cases lodged against him by the state police.
A vacation bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah made it clear that Singh will not be arrested by the state police till May 28 in connection with around 20 criminal cases lodged against him.
Allowing Singh to participate in the counting of votes on May 23, the bench took note of the statewide indefinite strike of lawyers in West Bengal.
It said the protection from arrest granted to Singh will cease after May 28 and the leader can seek bail from an appropriate forum subsequently.
In the forenoon, the bench had agreed to hear Singh during the day and had also taken note of the violence during Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal.
"Violence is taking place there. You (Singh's counsel) know it very well," the bench had said while agreeing to hear his plea.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Singh, said that around 20 criminal cases have been lodged against him from April 4 to May 20 due to political vendetta and to ensure that he remains away during counting of votes.
"If I go back without protection I will be arrested. Tomorrow I have to be present at counting," the senior advocate had said, adding lawyers are on strike in Kolkata.
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