The Calcutta HC said that alleged cases of rape and murder will be handed over to the CBI. A special investigation team will also be set up to probe Bengal post-poll violence cases.
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The Calcutta High Court has ordered a court-monitored probe by the CBI into the alleged incidents of rape and murder as it pronounced judgment on petitions seeking a probe into post-poll violence in West Bengal.
The HC also ordered the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe all other offences related to the alleged post-poll violence. The bench said both the investigations will be monitored by the court.
“All cases of murder and crimes of rape should be given to CBI for investigation,” a five-judge bench led by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal said on Thursday. The HC asked the central agency to file a report in the next six weeks.
For other cases, the court ordered a special investigation team (SIT). The SIT will comprise IPS officers Director General (Telecommunications) Suman Bala Sahoo, Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra, and Ranveer Kumar.
No adverse action should be taken without court direction, the Calcutta HC ordered.
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WHAT IS THE CASE?
A number of petitioners had moved the HC earlier this year, alleging widespread post-poll violence in the state of West Bengal after the Trinamool Congress’ return to power on May 2.
The PILs alleged that people were subjected to assault, made to flee homes and their properties were destroyed as a result of post-poll violence in West Bengal. Victims levelled serious allegations of murder, rape, and destruction of property against perpetrators of the alleged post-poll violence.
The petitioners sought an impartial probe into these and protection of life and liberty.
Taking cognizance of the matter, the HC ordered the NHRC chairman to constitute an inquiry committee to probe accusations of human rights violations during the “post-poll violence”.
The panel, in its report, indicated the Mamata Banerjee government, as it recommended handing over the investigation in grievous crimes like rape and murder to the CBI and said that the cases should be tried outside the state.
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The NHRC committee report said that other causes should be investigated by a court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) and for adjudication, there should be fast track courts, special public prosecutors, and a witness protection scheme.
The committee had in its scathing remarks in the final report said, “This was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main opposition party.”
Maintaining that the acts of violence resulted in disruption of life and livelihood of thousands of people and their economic strangulation, the report said, “The local police has been grossly derelict, if not complicit, in this violence.”
Opposing the findings and recommendations of the NHRC committee report, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the state DGP, had claimed during submissions that it was erroneous and biased. Claiming that a few members of the NHRC panel had links with the opposition BJP, he prayed that it should be rejected by the court.
Denying alleged inaction by the police, state Advocate General Kishore Dutta had submitted that suo motu FIRs were registered by the police in several cases apart from those in complaints sent by the NHRC.
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The allegations of post-poll violence even triggered a war of words between the BJP and the TMC. While the BJP accused the TMC of targeting its workers, the TMC responded by claiming that BJP workers were targeting their own.