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Monday, September 27, 2021

Bengal post-poll violence: CBI asks DGP for details of murder, rape cases

The agency sought the details of such cases from the director-general of police in line with a Calcutta High Court order that directed the CBI to take over cases related to murder, rape, and atrocities against women during the violence.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 21, 2021 1:59:17 am
The court had ordered a CBI inquiry into alleged killings, rape and crimes against women during post-poll violence in West Bengal.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has written to West Bengal’s director general of police (DGP), seeking the details of all cases of murder, attempted murder, and rape that were reported during alleged post-poll violence in the state, officials said on Friday.

The letter to the DGP, Virendra, came a day after the Calcutta High Court handed over the probe to the CBI. The agency has set up four teams — headed by joint directors Ramnish, Anurag, Vineet Vinayak, and Sampat Meena — to investigate the political violence that ensued after the victory of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on May 2 in a bitterly contested eight-phase Assembly election. Sources said 20-25 officers would be part of the four teams. Each team will have a deputy inspector general and about four superintendents of police from across the country, officials said. Additional Director Ajay Bhatnagar will supervise the investigation from Delhi instead of the agency’s regional office here.

Reacting to the court’s decision, state minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said, “It is not fair to hand over the entire probe to the CBI. We would not like to comment on the verdict passed by the honourable High Court. However, I would like to remind you that judges of the Madras High Court said a day before the High Court’s order that CBI was a ‘caged parrot’ and that they should be released from this situation and made an impartial body.”

Her party colleague and TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “It is very problematic that when one joins BJP, the CBI starts protecting [him or her].”

A five-judge Bench of the High Court on Thursday passed a unanimous judgement on a batch of public interest litigation pleas (PILs) seeking an independent investigation into incidents of alleged violence after the poll results were declared. The court also ordered that a special investigation team (SIT) be set up to probe all other cases.

The SIT will include Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranveer Kumar, all IPS officers of the West Bengal cadre. The Bench will monitor both the SIT and CBI investigations and has asked them to submit status reports to the court within six weeks. A retired Supreme Court judge will oversee the functioning of the SIT. A separate order on the matter will be passed after obtaining the consent of the judge.

The BJP has hailed the court order as “a victory of the Constitution” while the Mamata Banerjee government has decided to challenge it in the Supreme Court.

(With PTI inputs)

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