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Friday, September 17, 2021

Bengal post-poll violence: Bengal moves Supreme Court against HC order for CBI probe

In its special leave petition in the Supreme Court, the Mamata Banerjee government accused the CBI of acting at the behest of the Centre and claimed that it did not expect a fair probe.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: September 2, 2021 2:26:55 am
West BengalMadhabi Sarkar, the mother of BJP functionary Abhijit Sarkar who was allegedly killed in the post-poll violence, being taken to their house in Narkeldanga. (Express photo by Partha Paul/File)

The West Bengal government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order for a CBI probe into serious crimes such as rape and murder during alleged post-poll violence in the state.

In its special leave petition in the Supreme Court, the Mamata Banerjee government accused the CBI of acting at the behest of the Centre and claimed that it did not expect a fair probe. The government alleged that the Central agency was focusing on registering cases against the office-bearers of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Earlier, lawyer Anindya Sundar Das, one of the PIL petitioners on whose plea the High Court had issued its verdict, filed a caveat in the top court urging that no order be passed without hearing him if the state or other litigant filed appeals.

Acting on the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on August 19, the High Court had ordered the CBI to investigate cases of heinous crimes, and set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police to conduct inquiries into all other criminal cases reported during the alleged violence. Both the CBI and the SIT were given six weeks to submit their reports.

In its order, a five-judge Bench led by acting High Court Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, and comprising justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen, and Subrata Talukdar, observed that there were “definite and proved” allegations that complaints of the victims of violence in the aftermath of the West Bengal Assembly polls were not even registered. The court ordered the NHRC and the state government to hand over all their records of the cases to the CBI for “court-monitored investigation”.

While the CBI has already set up four teams to investigate the cases, registered over 30 cases, and arrested two people, the SIT is yet to start its probe.

The High Court had based its order on an NHRC committee report submitted on July 13. In an earlier interim report, the NHRC panel had mentioned that Atif Rasheed, a member of the committee, was obstructed from discharging his duty. The court noted that Rasheed and his team members were attacked in Kolkata’s Jadavpur area on June 29.

With inputs from PTI

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