Kamduni rape and murder: TMC hails verdict, Oppn see ‘govt involvement’ in acquittalshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/kamduni-rape-and-murder-tmc-hails-verdict-oppn-see-govt-involvement-in-acquittals/

Kamduni rape and murder: TMC hails verdict, Oppn see ‘govt involvement’ in acquittals

The Opposition parties, on the other hand, saw an “involvement” of the ruling party in the acquittal of the two accused in the gangrape and murder of a college girl in 2013.

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Woman activists protest outside the city sessions court in Kolkata on Thursday. Subham Dutta

THE TRINAMOOL Congress Thursday hailed the Kamduni verdict, saying it showed the police had worked impartially to have the culprits booked.
“When Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had visited Kamduni in 2013 after the incident, she had promised the culprits will be arrested and punished. Today, six accused have been convicted. This proves the police worked impartially…,” State Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said.

The Opposition parties, on the other hand, saw an “involvement” of the ruling party in the acquittal of the two accused in the gangrape and murder of a college girl in 2013.

While six of the nine accused — all chargesheeted by the police — have been found guilty by the court, two of them were acquitted for want of evidence. One accused had died in jail during the course of investigation.

Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury compared the incident with the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape in Delhi, and said that unlike that case, the Kamduni trial “dragged on for a long time”.

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“Even after the Chief Minister (Mamata Banerjee) claimed that chargesheet would be submitted within 15 days and offenders punished in a month’s time, it (the trial) went on for over two-and-a-half years. If the police couldn’t adhere to the deadline set by the CM, it shows the lackadaisical approach with which they work. The way the two (accused) have been acquitted even after being named in the FIR and the chargesheet, I am sure the CM was involved as they could be connected to her party,” Chowdhury alleged.

He has also reportedly assured the girl’s family of providing “all help” if it decides to move a higher court against the two acquittals.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose, too, claimed the charges against the two were “weakened” because of their “link” with the ruling party.

“In the past few years, such cases of rape have been dubbed by the CM as unimportant, small or fake. Although six people were finally convicted in this case, two others were acquitted and from what we have heard, the charges against them were weakened because they are linked to the ruling party,” Bose said.

CPM MP Mohammed Salim put the blame on the investigating officers, alleging proper evidence against the two accused could not be produced. “Had it not been for the media and the pressure created by the Kamduni residents, this incident would have been hushed up,” he said.

Actor-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee, who had gone to the court Thursday, remarked that it needs to be looked into whether there was a “political intervention” in the two acquittals.

BJP Mahila Morcha’s newly-elected president Roopa Ganguly toed a similar line, alleging that “tremendous pressure (applied) by the ruling party” acted as a “deterrent” for the officials probing the case. “It is a sorry tale that the verdict took nearly three years to be delivered. If the two have been cleared of all charges, it should be proved beyond doubt they were not present anywhere near the scene of crime,” she said.

Several TMC leaders, meanwhile, refused to comment on the verdict. “Law has taken its own course. If anyone is not satisfied with the verdict, he or she is free to move higher courts,” said TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee. State Law Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said she would not comment without going through the copy of the order.