Kolkata: A West Bengal BJP Yuva Morcha leader has accused his party colleague of sexual assault, elaborating in a police complaint how he was tortured after he rebuffed the man’s advances and beaten up by his security while near naked.
The survivor has filed a first information report (FIR) with the police, detailing a damning account of how the state’s legal cell convener Lokenath Chatterjee and his security staff tried to sexually coerce him.
The survivor said he was asked to join Chatterjee in Sikkim for “party work” last month. He boarded the Darjeeling Express from Kolkata’s Sealdah Station on 25 October along Chatterjee, and his CISF bodyguards.
“On reaching Sikkim, I realised there was no party work involved and this was an open and shut case of sexual coercion,” he said in his complaint letter.
In the complaint accessed by ThePrint, he goes on to say: “I had refused the sexual advances of accused Lokenath Chatterjee… on his instructions when we were descending from Nathu La Pass our vehicles came to an abrupt halt. Rakesh Kumar and Rahul (CISF personnel in charge of Lokenath’s security) made me alight from the vehicle and used criminal force to make me go down on my knees and put my hands behind my head. I was forced to remove my clothes with only my underwear on and was severely assaulted by accused Rakesh Kumar and Rahul. Then accused Rahul took out his service weapon from his waist and illegally shoved it into my mouth.”
The survivor, who said he still feels uncomfortable stepping out alone from his house, told ThePrint he could not report or seek help while the assault went on in Sikkim.
“Lokenath’s CISF bodyguard Rahul would constantly shadow me. The hotels were pre-booked, so we went directly to the room, my phone was taken away along with my ID cards. During the day, Lokenath and the CISF jawans would travel to higher altitudes in the car and we would return only late at night. They would torture me in the car and threatened to push me off the mountainous terrain,” he said.
The complaint letter adds, “I was confined in Lokenath Chatterjee’s room to do illegal acts.”
The Kolkata Police has booked Lokenath Chatterjee and his bodyguards Rakesh Kumar and Rahul under Sections 120B, 342, 323,506 (ii), 295(A), 377 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code for — criminal conspiracy, wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, outrage of religious feelings, unnatural offence of having carnal intercourse and the most rigorous section 511 for attempting to commit offences punishable with life imprisonment.
ThePrint spoke to investigating officer Rajdeep Singh who informed that Lokenath Chatterjee was incommunicado. Messages to Chatterjee also went unanswered.
Meanwhile, the survivor has written to party chief J.P. Nadda, requesting Chatterjee be immediately suspended from the party.
He said, “Unfortunately, none of the leaders from Bengal BJP came forward to help me but I mustered the courage and filed an FIR on 3 November. I did meet our Bengal chief Sukanta Majumdar, he heard the matter and then his PA (personal assistant) told me since I had drawn J.P. Nadda’s attention, I should seek action directly from him.”
When asked about the alleged assault over the phone, the party’s general secretary (organisation) Amitava Chakravorty immediately hung up. Party leader Sukanta Majumdar did not respond either.
Lokenath Chatterjee, 31, was the BJP’s Ballygunge candidate in the 2021 assembly polls. He lost but got central security from the Union Home Ministry after the polls.
An advocate by profession, Chatterjee is an alumni of Don Bosco Park Circus and West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences. He primarily handled the party’s legal matters in high court.
A BJP leader, who has worked closely with Chatterjee, said he climbed the success ladder with the help of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The leader added: “While the party won’t suspend him as that would mean accepting the charges, he has been asked to resign.”