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Post poll violence in West Bengal: PIL petitioner files caveat in SC

A five-judge bench of the High Court, headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, on Thursday ordered a CBI investigation in all alleged cases of heinous crimes like rape and murder.

Published: 20th August 2021 10:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th August 2021 10:18 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: One of the PIL petitioners, on whose plea the Calcutta High Court ordered CBI probe into all heinous cases during the post poll violence in West Bengal, Friday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court urging that no order be passed without hearing him if the state or other litigant move appeals against the verdict.

A five-judge bench of the High Court, headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, on Thursday ordered a CBI investigation in all alleged cases of heinous crimes like rape and murder, while accepting the recommendations of an NHRC panel, in West Bengal after the assembly poll results this year in which the ruling Trinamool Congress Party came back to power.

The unanimous verdict came on a batch of petitions including the one PIL filed by lawyer Anindya Sundar Das raising the issue of violence taking place in various parts of the state after the state assembly elections.

Das, in anticipation of the fact that the aggrieved parties, including the state government, may file appeals against the verdict, filed the caveat in the top court to ensure that he is heard before any order is passed on the pleas to be filed in the apex court.

The high court bench, which also comprised justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar, has 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.

Ordering setting up of an SIT to probe all other cases, it has said that it will include Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranveer Kumar, all IPS officers of the West Bengal cadre.

"All the cases where, as per the report of the Committee, the allegations are about murder of a person and crime against women regarding rape/attempt to rape, shall be referred to CBI for investigation,” it said.

The high court has also directed the NHRC committee, constituted by its chairman on a direction by the five-judge bench, and any other commission or authority and the state to immediately hand over the records of the cases to the CBI to carry forward the probe.

The bench said it will monitor the investigations by both the CBI and the SIT and asked the two agencies to submit status reports to the court within six weeks.

It has said that the working of the SIT will be overseen by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court for which a separate order will be passed after obtaining his/her consent.

In its ruling, the bench has said heinous crimes such as murder and rape "deserve to be investigated by an independent agency which in the circumstances can only be Central Bureau of Investigation."

The bench has said the State failed to register FIRs even in some cases of alleged murder.

"This shows pre-determined mind to take investigation into a particular direction."

"Under such circumstances investigation by independent agency will inspire confidence to all concerned," it has noted.

It said allegations that the police had not registered a number of cases initially and that some were registered only after the court had intervened or the committee was constituted were found to be true.

It observed that the facts in relation to the allegations made in the PILs are "even more glaring" as the incidents are not isolated to one place in the state.

The NHRC committee had on July 13 submitted its final report to the court.

An interim report of the NHRC committee had mentioned that Atif Rasheed, a member of the committee, was obstructed from discharging his duty and he and his team members were attacked by some undesirable elements on June 29 in Jadavpur area on the southern fringe of the city, the court noted.

The PILs had alleged that people were subjected to assault, made to flee homes and properties were destroyed during the violence in the wake of the assembly elections, sought impartial probe into all such cases, and demanded protection of life and liberty.



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