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Calcutta HC directs CBI probe into Bengal post-poll violence cases

Cases of relatively lesser magnitude will be investigated by the SIT; both the team and the CBI would submit its report within six weeks; the investigations would be monitored by the Calcutta High Court

SNS | Kolkata |

A five-judge Bench of the Calcutta High Court today directed CBI investigation into the incidents of murder, rape and deaths under mysterious circumstance in the aftermath of the Bengal Assembly elections.

On 3 August, the five-judge Bench led by acting Chief Justice had concluded the hearing of the cases regarding post-poll violence in which the police were accused of inaction by the BJP who lambasted the TMC for orchestrating and sheltering goons who perpetrated such acts.

Several petitions were submitted in the HC over post-poll violence.

The National Human Right Commission had sent a team to West Bengal on the directions of the HC to inquire into various incidents of post-poll violence across the state. The team, which was attacked when they visited various areas, compiled a report of their findings and submitted it before the HC.

The state government in its response to the report called it partial and alleged that it was prepared to vilify the ruling party and its leaders, indicating the involvement of the saffron party towards shaping the report.

“NHRC report is a politically motivated report. The homilies on independence of NHRC is laughable,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted on behalf of the state.

The NHRC committee subsequently submitted a report accusing the ruling Trinamul Congress of turning affairs in the state into the “law of ruler”, instead of “rule of law”, recommending that grievous offences including murder and rape should be handed over to the CBI for investigation, and that such cases should be tried outside the state.

The court today dismissed the allegations of a partial NHRC report, adding that all allegations have been thoroughly looked into.

The five-judge Bench while directing a CBI investigation into the incidents of post-poll violence added that the report must be submitted within six weeks.

“All cases as per report of NHRC committee where allegations are about murder of person or crime against women regarding rape or attempt to rape shall be referred to CBI for investigation,” the court ordered.

State should hand over all records of cases to CBI for such investigation, the court added.

“It shall be a court monitored investigation and any obstruction in the course of investigation by anyone shall be viewed seriously,” the court said.

Vandalism, arson, assault, and other incidents of relatively lesser importance would be investigated by the special investigating team (SIT) to be helmed by three IPS officers – Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranvir Kumar. The investigation would be monitored by a retired judge of the Supreme Court. SIT would have to submit its report within six weeks.

The court directed that victims of post-poll violence be given a compensation.

A new Division Bench was constituted to specifically deal with the hearing, pleas and reports and further measures related to post-poll violence cases.

The matter will be heard next on 4 October.