Defence punches holes in CBIs case in HC,says confession and custody were illegal
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Suhrid Dutta,the CPM zonal committee secretary of Singur,and his accomplice Debu Malik,both convicted in the Tapasi Malik murder case.
They were awarded life imprisonment by a sessions court in the murder case in November 2008,nearly two years after the 17-year-old girls body was recovered from the Nano plant site.
Malik was arrested on June 25,2007 and was taken to Delhi by the CBI. The next day,his confessional statement was recorded by a magistrate at Patiala House court in Delhi. On the basis of his statement,the CBI had arrested Dutta from Singur a few days later.
Appearing for the convicts,advocate Sekhar Bose argued before the HC on Wednesday that the procedure of recording the confessional statement by the magistrate was illegal since the investigating officer of CBI was present when it was made. No person,save the magistrate,should be present during the recording of a confessional statement by an accused,said Bose.
Bose also argued that the CBI investigating officers had signed on the statement,which was illegal since only the magistrate and the accused could be signatories to the statement.
Picking up more holes in the prosecutions case,the defence lawyer said the CBI was bound to inform the accused before his confessional statement that he would not be taken into the custody if he or she declined to disclose anything before the magistrate. Bose said the procedure was not followed and the CBI had taken Malik in its custody after the confession.
He said Dutta was arrested on June 28,2007 on the basis of Maliks statement that bore no evidence against him.
CBI counsel Ranjan Roy argued that the agency had recorded the confessional statement as per the CrPC,but the Division Bench hearing the case was not convinced. After the hearing,a bench of Justices Pranab Kumar Chatterjee and Asim Roy granted bail to the two convicts.
The Chandernagore sessions court had convicted Malik and Dutta on November 11,2008. Following this,both filed petitions in the Calcutta High Court challenging the verdict. The appeal is pending for the final hearing.
Tapasi,who came from a landless farmers family,was raped and killed and her charred body was recovered on December 18,2006,at the height of the Singur agitation against the setting up of the small car factory in the area.