In a setback to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered probe by the CBI into the incidents of violence, including murder and rape, allegedly perpetrated by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) targeting BJP sympathisers after the state Assembly election results were announced on May 2.
A five-judge bench of the High Court led by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal also ordered constitution of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) consisting three West Bengal IPS officers to probe the less serious cases of violence such as assault, setting house on fire, loot, etc. The SIT will work under the supervision of a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
Both the CBI and SIT will submit their reports to the court within six weeks.
Responding to a bunch of petitions, the High Court had earlier asked the National Human rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a team to look into the charges of violence and submit a report to the court. The NHRC had recommended a CBI probe into the incidents.
Welcoming the court order, Dilip Ghosh, president of the BJP in West Bengal, said the state police refused to register complaints of violence. “There was no other choice but to approach the court,” Ghosh said, adding that about 1,000 BJP supporters who fled their homes fearing attack by TMC workers could not return home even now.
TMC MP and senior party leader Saugata Roy said he was not happy with the order. “Law and order is a state subject. There is state police. Why then is the CBI entrusted probe at the drop of a hat,” he said. Roy added that the report given by the NHRC team was biased as several members of the team had affiliation with the BJP.