Calcutta HC orders CBI probe in Sandeshkhali case

Kolkata, Apr 11 (UNI) Calcutta High Court has ordered a CBI probe into the alleged molestation of women, land grabbing of the tribal people and intimidation at Sandeshkhali in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas by some TMC leaders, court sources said on Thursday.

The HC’s double bench order of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya on Wednesday meant all the criminal cases, which were being investigated by the West Bengal Police, have been transferred to the federal agency of the country.

At a separate bench on Wednesday, the same court barred the West Bengal Police from arresting the NIA officials, who have been accused of theft and outraging the modesty of women during the raid and arrest of bomb blast accused of TMC leaders at Bhupatinagar in East Medinipur.

In 2022, three persons were killed in an explosion for which the National Investigation Agency went there on Saturday morning where one of the anti-terror officials was attacked and sustained injury.

In Sandeshkhali too, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials were beaten up by the Sahajahan Sheikh supporters on January 5 last and fled with their lives along with CRPF jawans.

The ED went there for a search operation for alleged ration scam during Covid period following a Court order.

The NIA also went to Bhupatinagar following the Cal HC order and a special court order of April 3.

The Bengal police filed an FIR against NIA officials for alleged molestation in the Bhupatinagar incident after the wife of an arrested TMC leader filed a complaint against them at the local police station.

On Sandeshkhali, the division bench opined that crimes against women as well as forcible grabbing of land of the poor tribal people were serious and the people need to have the confidence in the authorities against the intimidation of the perpetrators.

A state police constable was beaten up badly in his police barrack this week by some unidentified miscreants at Sandeshkhali, which fueled fresh panic among the people, who have been demanding the CBI probe to uncover the truth.

The double bench ordered the CBI to ensure confidentiality of the complainants and ordered the agency to create a dedicated portal/email ID to lodge complaints by the people of Sandeshkhali. The District Magistrate of North 24 Parganas was ordered to give adequate publicity regarding the same.

The bench took notice of the fact that the state, meanwhile, had put in place a machinery by which lands were handed back to the persons from whom they were grabbed.

Advocate Alok Srivastav said, “A landmark order has been passed by the Calcutta High Court today. An order has just been pronounced directed for HC monitored CBI inquiry in Sandeshkhali sexual assault, rape cases and also in land grabbing cases. In the ED attack case, a CBI inquiry is already going on… The HC has ordered the West Bengal govt to provide adequate facilities and protection to the CBI officers and the victims of Sandeshkhali. The HC has passed a series of directions in favour of the victims. I am going to file a caveat in the Supreme Court as I am sure that the West Bengal government is likely to challenge the order as they did in the ED attack case but the Supreme Court has dismissed their challenge…”

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