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With Hanskhali minor rape being latest, 5 CBI probes ordered against Bengal govt in 18 days

The hearing on the minor rape cases was heard by a division bench of the Kolkata High Court on Tuesday afternoon but the judge had reserved the order for the time being.

IANS | Kolkata |

Call it a record. As many as five Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiries have been ordered against the West Bengal government during the last 18 days, with the latest being on the rape of minor girl, who died later at Hanskhali in Nadia district of the state.

The hearing on the minor rape cases was heard by a division bench of the Kolkata High Court on Tuesday afternoon but the judge had reserved the order for the time being.

But the order directing a court-monitored CBI probe into the matter was uploaded in the court’s website late on Tuesday evening. The five orders referred here are by different division benches of the Calcutta High Court, including the ones delivered by single-judge benches.

These include March 25 order on carnage killing nine persons at Bogtui in Birbhum district, April 4 order on murder on of Purulia’s Congress leader, Tapan Kandu, April 8 order on murder of Trinamool Congress deputy panchayat chief, Vadu Sheikh and finally the two orders on April 12, the first on the suicide of Niranjan Baishnab, an eye witness to Tapan Kandu’s murder and the second of minor rape at Hanskhali.

IANS spoke to some legal experts, retired judges and retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officers seeking their opinion on this issue. As per Retired judge of the Supreme Court Justice (retired) Ashoke Ganguly, the division benches have given the orders based on their realisations on how effectively the state administration or the state police machinery can conduct the investigation in these cases. “Orders for CBI inquiry by honourable courts are nothing new and in all such orders the realisation of the judges concerned plays a key role behind delivering such orders,” he said.

Kaushik Gupta, senior criminal lawyer with the Calcutta High Court, told IANS that generally division benches of any court orders CBI inquiry when the bench judges feel that the central agency has better and more reliable machinery to investigate the cases concerned than the state police. “To my opinion in all these five cases, that observation of the division benches of the Calcutta High Court prompted them to observe CBI inquiries,” Gupta said.

IANS also contacted retired IPS officer and former additional director general of West Bengal police, Nazrul Islam. “Every government in power always tries to influence its own state police machinery. But in the five cases that you mentioned, since the beginning the ruling party, including the chief minister, either projected the case as minor incidents or gave directions to the police to move ahead in a specific investigation pattern. Say the minor rape case in Hanskhali. The chief minister not only described it as a minor incident but also gave a love and pregnancy angle in the matter. All these made the honourable judges feel that after such comments, the state police cannot carry through an unbiased probe. Hence the division benches have ordered CBI probes,” Islam said.

Refusing to speak on the merits of the judgments, senior Trinamool Congress MLA, Tapas Roy questioned the efficiency of CBI in conducting proper investigation. “The records of CBI are not quite rosy. Now let us see what progress they make here,” he said.