The division bench of Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered a CBI probe into the Rampurhat carnage in West Bengal’s Birbhum district where ten people including six women and two children were burnt to death following the murder of a Trinamool gram panchayat leader.
The court in its order said that the probe was ordered in the “interest of justice”, “fair investigation” and to “instill confidence in the society”. The state government will not be carrying out any further investigation on the matter, and the CBI will have to submit a progress report before the court on April 7.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj observed: “…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 CBI.”
Earlier, the state government had set up a special investigation team (SIT) comprising Gyanwant Singh, Additional Director General of the Crime Investigation Department (ADG CID); B.L. Meena, Inspector General (IG) of the Burdwan Zone; and Meeraj Khalid, Deputy Inspector General [DIG CID (Ops)] to look into the incident.
The court said: “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.” According to the judges, the incident has “shaken the conscience of the society” and has “a nationwide ramification”.
Ten people, including two children, were charred to death as nearly a dozen houses were set ablaze in Bogtui in Birbhum’s Rampurhat block early Tuesday in a suspected fallout over the murder of a Trinamool Congress (TMC) deputy panchayat pradhan Bhadu Sheikh. The SIT has so far arrested 22 people, including the TMC’s Rampurhat I block president Anarul Hossain.
Welcoming the court order, the BJP’s IT Cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted, “Grateful to the Calcutta HC for ordering CBI probe in the Rampurhat massacre. Mamata Banerjee’s admin and SIT constituted by the WB Govt inspired no confidence whatsoever. It seemed more like a means to cover up the crime and protect TMC leaders involved in the ghastly killings.”