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HC orders CBI to probe Bengal post-poll violence

Kolkata, August 19 (UNI): The Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered the court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation to probe into violence across the state after the 2021 Assembly elections.

“All cases as per report of NHRC committee where allegations are about murder of person or crime against women regarding rape or attempt to rape shall be referred to CBI for investigation,” the five-judge bench of the court said.

The state should hand over all records of cases to CBI for such investigation, the court said, adding, “It shall be a court monitored investigation and any obstruction in the course of investigation by anyone shall be viewed seriously,” the court added.

The court also referred all other cases cited by NHRC committee to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for probe. Three IPS officers — Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranbir Kumar — will be part of the SIT.

Three separate but concurring judgments were delivered by a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.

A number of petitioners had moved the high court earlier this year, alleging widespread post-poll violence in the state after the Trinamool Congress’ stunning return to power on May 2.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had formed a committee at the direction of the high court to probe the various complaints of post-poll violence in West Bengal.

The opposition BJP in West Bengal welcomed the High Court order and said it proves that allegations of post-poll violence were true.

Leader of Opposition in state assembly Suvendu Adhikari said, “The Bengal rulers made the state a laboratory of political violence.”

“Today’s historical judgment indicts them for failing to protect human rights. Hence it is proved that judiciary is the most formidable pillar of constitution and democracy,” he added.

Senior TMC leader and Lok Sabha MP Saugata Roy said the Bengal government could “appeal to a higher court”.

“I’m unhappy with the verdict. If in every law and order matter, which is entirely within a state’s jurisdiction, the CBI comes… it is transgression of the state’s right,” Roy said.

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