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HC orders court-monitored CBI to investigate into post-poll violence across Bengal

Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the West Bengal Police, had argued that the NHRC’s report was “politically motivated" and that some members of the fact-finding committee had links to the BJP.

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Kolkata: Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered the court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate into violence across the state after the 2021 Assembly elections.

“All cases as per report of NHRC committee where allegations are about murder of person or crime against women regarding rape or attempt to rape shall be referred to CBI for investigation,” the five-judge bench of the court said.

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The state should hand over all records of cases to CBI for such investigation, the Court said, adding,“It shall be a court monitored investigation and any obstruction in the course of investigation by anyone shall be viewed seriously,” the court added.

The court also referred all other cases cited by NHRC committee to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for probe. Three IPS officers — Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranbir Kumar — will be part of the SIT.

Three separate but concurring judgments were delivered by a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.

A number of petitioners had moved the high court earlier this year, alleging widespread post-poll violence in the state after the Trinamool Congress’ stunning return to power on May 2.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had formed a committee at the direction of the high court to probe the various complaints of post-poll violence in West Bengal.

Victims had levelled serious allegations of murder, rape and destruction of property against perpetrators of the alleged post-poll violence.

On July 15, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team probing the post-poll violence in West Bengal had submitted its final report to Calcutta High Court. The 50-page report termed the situation in the state a manifestation of the law of the ruler instead of the rule of law

The committee had in its remarks in the final report said, “This was retributive violence by supporters of the ruling party against supporters of the main opposition party.”

It recommended handing over the investigation in grievous crimes like rape and murder to the Central Bureau of Investigation and said that the cases should be tried outside the state.

Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of the West Bengal Police, had argued that the NHRC’s report was “politically motivated” and that some members of the fact-finding committee had links to the BJP.

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