The family members of 14 victims who were allegedly killed in police firing in Nandigram in 2007 Thursday moved the Calcutta High Court challenging the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheet justifying the police action.
This comes days after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at the CBI terming it “Congress Bureau of Investigation” for giving the clean chit to the previous Left Front government in the case. The CBI chargesheet, filed in the Haldia court in December last year, stated that the firing was necessitated as “It has been established that the assembly was an unlawful assembly and obstructed public servants in performing legal duty.”
Advocate Rajdeep Mazumdar, the counsel of the petitioners Sukumar Jana and others who lost their family members, argued that the CBI chargesheet nullified the Calcutta High Court’s verdict on the police firing in Nandigram.
Delivering the final verdict in the case in November 2007, a Division Bench, headed by the then Chief Justice S S Nijjar, had held that “the action of the police cannot be protected or justified on the ground of sovereign immunity…even under the provisions of Criminal Procedure Code; The Police Act, 1861 or The Police Regulations, 1943.’’ It had directed the CBI to investigate into the incident and file a chargesheet in the criminal court.
Last year, Sukumar Jana and others filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court claiming that despite a lapse of six years, they were yet to know about the outcome of the CBI probe.
As the came up for hearing Thursday, they challenged the CBI chargesheet filed in the criminal court. They urged the Division Bench of Justice Asim Kumar Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee to order a fresh CBI investigation into the incident under the monitoring of the High Court. They requested the Bench to set up a Special Investigation Team to probe into the case.
CBI’s counsel, Advocate Asraf Ali, said, the central agency had filed two chargesheets in the Haldia court. “Another chargesheet on the role of the police was prepared in December 2012 seeking government sanction to prosecute five lower level police officers. But the state failed to give its sanction, so the chargesheet has not filed in the court,” Ali said.
It may be mentioned that the state government has already written several letters to the CBI asking why top level police officers, who led the operation in Nandigram, were not named in the chargesheet.
As per a an affidavit filed by the state government, police had fired 37 rounds at two places in Nandigram,out of which 18 had hit the villagers. Out of 14 killed, eight died in police firing and five due to bomb explosion while was killed due to an assault by stone or other heavy material. Total 24 people received bullet or splinter injuries, out of total 162 injured villagers.