OUR CORRESPONDENT, The Telegraph
Chowdhury at the asylum on Monday. Picture by Chayan Majumdar
Behrampore, Dec. 19: The social welfare department in Murshidabad has lodged a police complaint against junior railway minister Adhir Chowdhury for entering a government home for the mentally challenged without permission.
Congress MP Chowdhury had on Monday visited Mahalandi Home for Lunatics and Vagrants in Kandi along with some party workers and criticised the “poor state of affairs” there.
The junior railway minister has been charged under Section 353 of the IPC (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty). The charge is non-bailable and if proved guilty, Chowdhury could be jailed for up to two years. The FIR was lodged on Tuesday.
Today, social welfare and women and child development minister Sabitri Mitra said Behrampore MP Chowdhury had entered the home “almost like a mastan (tough)”.
“Chowdhury and his aides entered the government home without permission. He entered the facility almost like a mastan. He had a political motive,” Mitra said.
She added that Chowdhury had “not bothered” to visit the home in his 15 years as an MP. “He passes the home at least five times a month. But he chose to visit it only a day before Mamata Banerjee’s meeting in the district.”
On Tuesday, Mamata held an administrative meeting at Rejinagar, around 45km from the Kandi home.
Chowdhury, who had on Monday told journalists that the 212 inmates of the home “do not have proper clothes and are served unhygienic food”, today said: “I do not require permission to visit the government home as I am the local MP.”
An official said rules allowed only the minister and officials of the social welfare department to enter the home without permission.
Asked about the complaint against Chowdhury, district social welfare officer Mohammad Badrodoja said: “The junior railway minister had entered a protected place without the permission of the social welfare department. He also threatened government employees and prevented them from discharging their duties.”
Badrodoja did not clarify if the employees of the home had tried to prevent Chowdhury and his aides from entering. Asked if Chowdhury would be arrested, Murshidabad police chief Humayun Kabir said: “We have registered an FIR against Chowdhury and others. We have started a probe. Let’s see what happens.”
The Congress MP said he had visited the home after getting complaints about the “sorry state of affairs” there. “I have been getting such complaints for quite some time. So I went to the home on Monday. If a case has been registered against me, so be it. Several false cases have been lodged against me,” Chowdhury said.
Minister Mitra denied Chowdhury’s allegations of neglect. She said a new water supply project had been taken up for the home and a building would be constructed. “We have also decided to provide a permanent doctor for the home and an ambulance.”