Saturday, April 13, 2024

Birbhum Horror: Calcutta HC takes away the probe by Mamata govt; gives it to CBI

The Calcutta High Court has  transferred the investigation into the violence in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, in which eight persons were pummelled before being burnt alive, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Mamata Banerjee government had formed an SIT to handle the probe but the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj asked the CBI to file a progress report by April 7. 

The Calcutta High Court stated in its order: “We are of the opinion that the facts and the circumstances of the case demand that, in the interest of justice and to instil confidence in the society and to have a fair investigation to dig out the truth, it is necessary to hand over the investigation to the CBI.”

“Accordingly, we direct the state (Bengal) government to forthwith hand over the investigation of the case to CBI. We also direct the state authorities to extend full cooperation to the CBI in carrying out the further investigation. In view of this order, the state police authorities or the SIT formed by the state will not carry out any further investigation in the matter from the time the same is handed over to the CBI,” the court said.

It further said, “the CBI will not only be handed over the case papers but also the accused and suspects who were arrested in the matter and are in custody. Hence, we direct the CBI to forthwith take over the investigation in the case and submit the progress report before us on the next date of hearing.”

Notably, on March 23, the Calcutta High Court had issued directions to the state government to ensure a proper probe of the case and asked to submit the case diary and a report on the investigation so far. The court also issued directions for the protection of evidence and the crime scene. The court ordered that the scene must be continuously monitored through CCTV cameras. The Calcutta High Court had further directed that a team from CFSL in Delhi will visit the site to collect forensic evidence. The order said that the evidence will have to be collected without any delay. The bench also asked the DGP and the IGP to ensure the protection of witnesses in the case. 

The High Court had taken up the matter after initiating a suo motu case, along with some PILs filed by some individuals after 8 persons were killed in retaliation to the alleged murder of a TMC leader. The individuals who have approached the court have demanded a CBI probe, saying that the SIT formed by the state govt is not impartial.

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