Calcutta HC Orders CBI Probe In TMC Leader's Murder Linked To Birbhum Killings

Calcutta HC Orders CBI Probe In TMC Leader's Murder Linked To Birbhum Killings

by PTI - Friday, April 8, 2022 02:43 PM IST
Calcutta HC Orders CBI Probe In TMC Leader's Murder Linked To Birbhum KillingsCalcutta HC

Kolkata, Apr 8 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered a CBI investigation into the murder of Trinamool Congress leader Bhadu Sheikh, which apparently led to the retaliatory killing of nine people in West Bengal's Birbhum district.

The high court had earlier ordered a CBI investigation into the killings of the nine people at Bogtui village.

Prayers were made before a division bench presided by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava for ordering a CBI probe into the murder of Bhadu Sheikh as well, claiming that the two incidents were interlinked.

'The CBI is directed to investigate the murder case of Bhadu Sk along with the investigation in the case of Bogtui house burning and murder case,' the bench, also comprising Justice R Bharadwaj, ordered.

The bench had on March 25 ordered that the probe into the March 21 violence at Bogtui village be handed over to CBI from the West Bengal government-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The state DGP had on March 22 said that the incident of fire in houses at Bogtui took place within about an hour of the murder of Sheikh, the deputy chief of the local panchayat.

The place of the murder of Sheikh is around a kilometre away from Bogtui.

The bench observed that the second incident prima facie seems to be the fallout of the murder of Sheikh.

It said that the object of issuing the necessary direction is to ensure appropriate action against the person responsible for the incident.

'On the basis of the material which is available before us, we are of the opinion that the said object can be more appropriately achieved if the incident of murder of Bhadu Sk is also investigated by the CBI along with the incident of burning of houses and murder of villagers of Bogtui which took place shortly thereafter.'

The court noted that a progress report of investigation submitted by the CBI before it prima facie suggested that the brutal incident of burning and killing at Bogtui village is the direct fallout of killing of Bhadu Sheikh at 8.30 pm on the same night.

The report also suggested that the incident is the outcome of rivalry among the members of two groups in the village and that the burning of the houses resulting in the death of at least nine persons was retaliatory, the bench noted.

The court directed the state government-appointed SIT to immediately hand over the probe in the case of the murder of Bhadu Sheikh to the CBI along with all the records of the investigation conducted so far as also the accused persons who have been arrested.

The bench directed the CBI to file a report of investigation in both the cases on the next date of hearing on May 2.

Lawyers for the applicants submitted during earlier hearings that in order to have a complete investigation and to unearth truth behind the incident of burning of nine persons, the investigation of Bhadu Sheikh's murder should also be done by the CBI as both the incidents are interconnected.

Counsel for the CBI submitted that the agency has no objection in conducting the investigation in Bhadu Sheikh murder case but this prayer should have been made earlier.

He submitted that it is better if the investigation is done in both the cases by the same agency as both are interlinked and that will also facilitate trial of the cases before the same judge.

Opposing the prayer for transfer of the case to CBI, Advocate General SN Mookherjee submitted that there is no allegation that the investigation in the case of the murder of Bhadu Sheikh is not being done properly by the SIT.

On the submissions by all the parties in the matter, the bench said that the allegation of the applicants that both incidents form part of the common conspiracy and continuous cause of action cannot be ignored.

'It is also worth noting if one agency investigates both the incidents then not only it will be easier to unearth the truth but it will also facilitate trial before the same competent Court,' the bench said.

The bench presided by the chief justice had on March 23 suo motu taken up the case of the gruesome incident on March 21.

A set of PILs seeking CBI or NIA probe into the incident, were also taken up for hearing along with the suo motu petition lodged by the court.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without any modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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