The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the murder of the Congress councillor from Jhalda Municipality in Purulia district.
A division bench, headed by Justice Rajasekhar Mantha, passed this order on the prayer of Tapan Kandu’s widow, Purnima Kandu, who had been insisting on a CBI enquiry. She had also been alleging that the special investigation team (SIT) of the state police, which had been investigating the case, was trying to shield inspector-in-charge of Jhalda Police station, Sanjib Ghosh.
She also alleged that Ghosh had been putting pressure on her husband for a long time to join the ruling Trinamool Congress.
On the evening of March 13, Kandu and his wife were walking near their residence when three motorcycle-borne youth came and shot him from an extremely close range.
Justice Mantha also directed the SIT to immediately hand over the case-related papers to the CBI, which has been asked to submit a preliminary investigation report within the next 45 days.
The SIT has already arrested four persons in connection with the murder, including Kandu’s brother Naren Kandu and the latter’s son, Deepak Kandu.
The Calcutta High Court’s order on Monday comes as a major embarrassment for the state administration and more specially the Purulia district police. Only on Sunday afternoon, Purulia Superintendent of Police, S. Selvamurugan told media persons that a family feud was the reason behind the killing.
According to him, the two brothers had a bitter relation for quite some time and Naren Kandu was planning the murder of his brother for the last few years.
He also said that an amount of Rs 7,00,000 was fixed for plotting and implementing the murder of Kandu. Selvamurugan also gave a clean chit to Inspector Ghosh.
Immediately after the verdict, Purnima Kandu told media persons she would like to thank the Calcutta High Court for accepting her plea for CBI enquiry. “I want the enquiry to be conducted now and let the real offenders receive harshest punishment,” she said.
The opposition parties in the state have welcomed the verdict.
Congress’s Purulia district President, Nepal Mahato said that since the beginning there was attempt by the district police authorities to shield the local inspector. “However, we are hopeful that real conspiracy will be unearthed now,” he said.
CPI-M Rajya Sabha member and the former mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said that since the beginning, the SIT was trying to give the colour of family feud. “However, we are happy that CBI will probe the matter now,” he said.
BJP state President Sukanta Majumdar said: “Since the beginning, we had been questioning the role of the inspector-in-charge of Jhalda Police station, Sanjib Ghosh in the case. Now the court order has justified that suspicion,” he said.
Contacted by IANS, senior Trinamool MP Saugata Roy refused to comment on the matter, saying that he does not have detailed knowledge about the verdict.