Petitioners seeking an independent investigation into allegations of post-poll violence on Monday urged the Calcutta High Court to hand over the probe of serious crimes such as rape and murder that were allegedly committed to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as per the recommendation of a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) inquiry team.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal who represented the state police opposed the prayer of the petitioners, claiming that the NHRC report was baseless, and politically motivated as many of its members had links to the BJP. He claimed that the NHRC committee did not follow the procedure for recording prima facie findings.
In its final report submitted to a five-judge Bench of the court on July 13, the NHRC committee had said that the alleged post-post violence “was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main opposition party”, and recommended a CBI probe into “grievous offences like rape and murder”.
Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani who appeared on behalf of one of the petitioners argued that the evidence on record clearly shows post-poll violence had occurred, and added that victims had been repeatedly threatened to withdraw their complaints.
He objected to the state’s allegations of bias against the members of the NHRC panel. “Motivation seems to be the chief argument instead of arguing on the findings. The state has chosen to accuse fact-finding bodies of bias. The state has chosen to side with the complicit police authorities,” Jethmalani added.
Meanwhile, the lawyer representing state Forest Minister Jyotipriyo Mallick and TMC MLA Partha Bhowmick petitioned the court to add them as parties to the matter.
NHRC team did not question or talk to Mallick and Bhowmick, he asked how it added their names to the list without any evidence.