Birbhum issue puts Mamata on a sticky wicket

Mamata Banerjee
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Mamata Banerjee 

Highlights

The Calcutta High Court on Friday transferred the Birbhum violence case of West Bengal in which eight persons were killed allegedly in retaliation to the murder of a local TMC leader, to the CBI.

The Calcutta High Court on Friday transferred the Birbhum violence case of West Bengal in which eight persons were killed allegedly in retaliation to the murder of a local TMC leader, to the CBI. The order was passed by a Bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj in a suo motu case taken up to consider the issue. Besides the suo motu case, certain public interest litigation (PILs) had also been filed before the Court seeking a CBI probe into the incident.

The order has come at the right moment even as the victims in particular and people in general wonder whether the culprits would be brought to justice. The Court made it clear that the order was given to instil confidence and to have fair investigation to "dig out the truth". It should be presumed that the Court is fully aware of the politics at play. The order said "accordingly, we direct the State Government to forthwith hand over the investigation to the CBI. We also direct State authorities to extend full cooperation to the CBI in carrying out investigation".

The Court has also directed the Special Investigation Team instituted by the State Government into the incident to stop carrying out any investigation in the matter once the case is handed over to the CBI. There is every possibility of the SIT altering the course of investigation by applying pressure tactics on the people. These apprehensions are justified in the light of the Chief Minister's observations that 'something big' was being planned. For Mamata Didi it is always the Opposition and whenever there is violence she keeps blaming the BJP or the Opposition.

People of West Bengal know that there is little chance of fair play to the police investigations and it is always in favour of the line adopted by the TMC leadership. The anarchy that the TMC rule has unleashed in West Bengal is tragic. The groupism within the party is well known and the local strongman always has the last word in the law and order issues too. Harassment of those who do not fall in line is quite common and several TMC cadres and sympathisers vouch for it.

Torching of houses has been witnessed post-Assembly elections in the state with the TMC cadres reportedly attacking the BJP sympathisers and CPM cadres houses and properties. The High Court has asked the CBI to take over the investigation and submit a progress report to the Court on April 7. The Court turned down the appeal by the State to stay the order to enable it to file an appeal against the same. The SIT has already made contradictory statements in the case and it is also apprehended that the evidence could be destroyed. The statements of witnesses have not been recorded till date.

Prime suspect is still at large. In view of these fears, the Court ordered that the "State will immediately install CCTV cameras with DVR having sufficient memory covering all angles of scene of occurrence and will do continuous recording until further orders. Cameras should be installed in the presence of District Judge, Purba Bardhaman district".

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