Ambikesh Mahapatra, a professor at the Jadavpur University in Kolkata, was arrested on the basis of a complaint made by a Trinamool Congress leader for circulating defamatory e-mails directed at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee among others. Mahapatra’s neighbour, Subrata Gupta, whose e-mail ID the former had used to send out e-mails was also arrested. Both were booked on charges of defamation, outraging the modesty of a woman and hacking. (Sections 500, 509 of the IPC and Sections 66A and 66B of the IT Act)
Mahapatra had sent e-mails containing a humorous graphic about Ms. Banerjee replacing Dinesh Trivedi, with Mukul Roy as Railway Minister. The graphic uses photographs of the three Trinamool Congress Leaders and a clever play of words with dialogues from Satyajit Ray’s detective flick, “Sonar Kella”(The Golden Fortress).
According to Mahapatra, before he was arrested at his house on 12 April, 2012, his house was ransacked by a group of youths, who also beat him up and forced him to write an apology stating he was a member of the Communist Party of India.
While Mahapatra and Gupta still face proceedings at the Court, the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) upon taking suo moto cognizance of the case, issued directions that action be taken against the police officers who arrested them.