Kolkata:  The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed criminal proceedings against BJP president Amit Shah in connection with an FIR that accused him of provoking violence in his speech in January.

Questioning how Shah’s claim that the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal would fall on the day of the counting of votes of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections could possibly incite violence, Justice Jay Sengupta stayed proceedings against him for four weeks.

Shah had moved the high court praying for quashing of the FIR against him, claiming that the charges against him were frivolous and concocted. During the hearing, the court observed that the real perpetrators of the violence in Contai in East Midnapore district were not booked, but the person giving the speech was booked.

Appearing for the state, public prosecutor Saswata Mukherjee said two other cases were also lodged at Contai police station, naming some accused persons for allegedly injuring a few people and indulging in violence and arson. He admitted that the name of Shah does not appear in those complaints.

Staying the criminal proceedings against Shah at the sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM) court in Contai on the basis of the FIR, Justice Sengupta directed that the matter would appear for hearing again after two weeks. On Wednesday, Justice Sengupta had directed the West Bengal police to produce the case diary in connection with the FIR lodged against the BJP president for allegedly making defamatory and provocative statements.

The FIR was lodged by Atanu Giri claiming that Shah had made the defamatory and provocative statements at a public meeting on January 29. The complainant said Shah’s speech provoked BJP workers who vandalised a Trinamool Congress party office, besides setting afire several motorcycles at Contai town, around 170 kilometres from here.

According to Giri’s complaint, Shah in his speech said, “The government of West Bengal will fall when counting process of the parliamentary election will be on.” It was also alleged that Shah’s speech “provoked religious sentiments of the people of the state”. Seeking quashing of the FIR, Shah’s lawyers Y J Dastur and Firoze Edulji on Wednesday submitted that no case was made out in the FIR and the charges are frivolous and concocted.