All 23 members of poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s IPAC (Indian Political Action Committee), in Tripura on assignment for Mamata Banerjee, have been granted pre-arrest bail without conditions as some of them face allegations of violating Covid rules.
A few members of IPAC have been summoned by the police on August 1. They have been served notice under a section of criminal law that leaves them open to arrest.
On Tuesday, the entire team complained of being confined to their hotel by the police.
The IPAC team is in Tripura’s Agartala to carry out surveys for Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the BJP-ruled state where elections are due in 2023.
There is heavy presence of the Tripura police in and outside the hotel. The police yesterday did not allow anyone from the IPAC team to leave the premises, sources in the organisation told NDTV.
“The outsiders – around 22 people – were roaming around in various places. Since Covid restrictions are in place, we are inquiring to verify the reasons behind their arrival and stay in the city. They all underwent Covid tests on Monday, the reports are awaited,” Manik Das, Superintendent of Police, West Tripura, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The results of their (IPAC members’) RTPCR test are expected today, he said.
Ms Banerjee has dispatched a team of Trinamool Congress ministers to Agartala to meet with the team. The ministers are Bratya Bose and Moloy Ghatak. The Chief Minister’s Nephew Abhishek Banerjee and Derek O’Brien also headed to Agartala.
“Khela has started in Tripura,” Bratya Bose had said yesterday, referring to his party’s popular election slogan “Khela Hobey (Game On)”.
“These IPAC members are Bengal residents and worked with the TMC in polls,” Mr Bose said.