Birbhum violence: Calcutta HC orders CBI probe amid Mamata's opposition
The Calcutta High Court on Friday transferred the case of Birbhum violence to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), denying the Mamata Banerjee government's request to not hand over the investigation to the central agency. The WB government's Special Investigation Team (SIT) will now hand over the case to the CBI. The HC also asked CBI to file a progress report by April 7.
- Eight people, including six women and two children, were charred to death by a mob in Bogtui village of Rampurhat in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Tuesday.
- The incident is said to have been a retaliation for the murder of local Trinamool Congress leader and panchayat deputy chief Bhadu Sheikh.
- Notably, the HC had taken suo moto cognizance of the incident.
The Friday order was delivered by a division bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj. The court cited circumstantial evidence and the impact of the incident to bar the state police from probing the case. It also directed the state government "to extend full cooperation to CBI in carrying out the further investigation."
Earlier, the HC had directed the state to install CCTV cameras in the presence of the district judge for the round-the-clock surveillance of the scene of the incident. It also directed a forensic team from Delhi to gather evidence immediately from the spot for examination and ordered the state to ensure protection for the witnesses.
During her visit to Bogtui on Thursday, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs. 2 lakh each for reconstructing the damaged houses. She further said those injured would be given Rs. 50,000 each. She also promised permanent government jobs to members of the 10 affected families.
Speaking to the kin of victims, Banerjee on Thursday also ensured "speedy justice" to them. Suspects of the Rampurhat killings would be hunted down and arrested unless they themselves surrender, she added. She further asserted that the police would ensure the strictest punishment for the culprits. Notably, the state police had so far arrested at least 20 people in connection with the case.