Calcutta HC orders CBI probe into Birbhum massacre – The Hindu

Kolkata News

The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed a CBI probe into the massacre at Bogtui village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district. Eight people were on March 21 burnt to death in the village after the murder of a Trinamool Congress Deputy Pradhan, triggering massive outrage.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj directed the CBI to submit a preliminary report before the court by April 7.

“Having regard to the aforesaid we are of the opinion that facts and circumstances of the case demand that in the interest of justice and to instill confidence in the society and to have fair investigation to dig out the truth it is necessary to hand over the investigation to the CBI. Accordingly, we direct the State government to forthwith hand over the investigation of the case to the CBI. We also direct the State authorities to extend full cooperation to the CBI in carrying out the further investigation,” the order stated.

“In view of this order, the State police authorities or SIT formed by the State will not carry out any further investigation in the matter from the time the same is handed over to the CBI,” the order added.

“The CBI will not only be handed over the case papers but also the accused and suspects who were arrested in the matter and in custody. Hence, we direct the CBI to forthwith take over the investigation in the case and submit the progress report before us on the next date of hearing,” the court order said.

The West Bengal government had set up a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the incident. 

The High Court took suo motu cognisance of the violence. Earlier, the Bench heard the matter for two days and on Thursday reserved its orders.

The court directed the SIT to stop the investigation and asked the State government to hand over all relevant documents related to the case to the CBI. The Central investigation agency has been directed to ensure the protection of witnesses in the court.

During the hearing, the counsels appearing for the State stressed on the steps taken by the State government, while those seeking a CBI probe had pointed out that if this incident did not shake the conscience of the court, then what would.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday visited the village, announced compensation to villagers and directed the arrest of the local block president of the TMC Anarul Hossain.