The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday took its motu cognisance of the violence in West Bengal’s Birbhum district and directed the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL) to collect evidence samples from the crime scene and protect eyewitnesses. It also asked the state government to file a report in the case before it by 2 pm on Thursday, when the matter will be taken up for hearing again.
On Tuesday, eight people were charred to death in Rampurhat town of Birbhum district in the suspected fallout of a Trinamool Congress panchayat official’s murder.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava, taking up a suo motu petition and a set of PILs, ordered that CCTVs be installed at the crime scene in the presence of district judge, Purba Bardhaman, and recordings be done until further orders.
The bench, also comprising justice R Bharadwaj, directed a team of CFSL in Delhi to visit the spot and collect samples for examination without any delay.
It asked the director general of police to ensure the safety of witnesses, including that of a minor boy injured in the arson, in consultation with the district judge, Purba Bardhaman.
The court observed that his motu petition has been registered for fair investigation in the case. The petitioners in the PILs have prayed for a probe by the CBI or by any other agency which is not controlled by the state.
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Advocate general representing the government opposed the prayer, stating an SIT was probing the matter and that there was no need to transfer the case to any other agency.
Sheikh, a TMC leader and a pradhan of Boroshal gram panchayat, was killed by some miscreants on March 21 night. The killing led to a violent backlash in which around 10 to 12 houses were torched and eight people were burned alive.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case. One of the petitions before the HC stated that the SIT has already given many contradictory statements on the issue and that it will only act as a “slave of the ruling party,” reported Bar and Bench.
“The SIT will leave no stone unturned to cover up the issue,” the petition stated.
Banerjee termed the Birbhum incident “unfortunate” said that her government will take action in a ‘fair’ manner.
She also slammed governor Jagdeep Dhankhar terming him as “one ladsahab” who has been making negative statements against the state.
Mamata, who will visit Rampurhat on Thursday, said she is concerned about people in the state.