Calcutta HC division bench upholds CBI probe in Trinamool leader’s murder

The West Bengal government received yet another jolt on Friday as a division bench of the Calcutta High Court decided to uphold an earlier order by a single-judge bench of the same court on the CBI probe in the murder of Tapan Dutta, the Trinamool Congress leader from Howrah district.

Tapan Dutta, was killed near his residence on May 6, 2011 just days after the Trinamool Congress came to power in West Bengal ousting the 34-year-long Left Front rule. It was alleged that Dutta was murdered for voicing protest against the illegal filling up of water bodies near his residence at Bally in Howrah district.

Initially, the local police began probing the matter and later, the investigation was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the West Bengal Police. However, Tapan Dutta’s wife, Pratima Dutta and his daughter, Puja Dutta approached the Calcutta High Court demanding a CBI enquiry and alleged that the Trinamool Congress leader was killed by his own party men.

On June 9 this year, Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha ordered a CBI probe in the case. However, the West Bengal government challenged that single-judge bench order at the division bench of Calcutta High Court’s Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj.

The counsel for the state government argued that the single-judge bench passed the order in a haste, since only in rare cases re-investigations are ordered and that too after submission of two separate charge sheets.

However, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the counsel for Pratima Dutta, argued that in the second charge sheet the names of certain Trinamool Congress leaders, who were named in the first charge sheet, were dropped. He also argued that evidence was tampered with to shield the genuine culprits in the case and, hence, a probe by a central agency was necessary.

Finally on Friday, after hearing both the parties, the division bench upheld the earlier order by the single-judge bench for a CBI enquiry in the case.

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