This will help the agency fight the perception that it loses its power when it comes to West Bengal.

 

New Delhi: In what is likely to help the agency in fighting off the perception and criticism that it loses its power when it comes to West Bengal, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed its charge-sheet in a case related to the murder of an individual in the alleged West Bengal post-poll violence, within five days of registering the FIR in the case.

The agency, on 2 September, filed its first charge-sheet against two accused—Mainuddin S.K. and Md. Imran—in a murder case that was registered at Nalhati police station, Birbhum, which the CBI had taken over on 28 August. Similarly, on 3 September, the agency filed another charge-sheet against four accused—Tuntun Chaudhary, Chandan Singh, Lalan Singh and Animesh Paul—after taking over the case on 25 August. In this instance, the alleged accused had visited the house of the victim and hurled bombs at him after which he died. The FIR by the state police in the case was registered on 6 June at Bhatpara police station, North 24 Parganas.

Also, just three days after registering an FIR in a similar case, the agency made its first arrest on 28 August while apprehending Bijoy Ghosh and Ashima Ghosh of Chapra, Nadia for their alleged involvement in an incident that took place on 14 May in which three persons were attacked with choppers.

The CBI has been asked to investigate cases of alleged post-poll murders and rapes that took place in West Bengal by an order of the Calcutta High court on 19 August. Since then, the agency in the last 15 days has so far filed 34 FIRs. The Calcutta High Court had asked the CBI to investigate the cases while deciding on a series of writ petitions that were filed by different individuals.

The probe is being carried out by four separate teams, each having seven members. Every team is headed by a Joint Director level officer. The newly appointed director of the agency, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, a 1985 Maharashtra cadre IPS officer, who took over the charge of the agency on 25 May, has asked his subordinates to ensure that the probe in these cases do not meet the same fate as the other cases which are being investigated by the CBI in West Bengal, as pointed out by this newspaper recently. (Post-poll violence probe: CBI doesn’t inspire confidence—21 August). However, it remains to be seen whether the agency and Jaiswal will be able to arrest the TMC leaders and ministers who allegedly took part or sanctioned the violence. Without the go-ahead from the top leaders, the local TMC cadre would not have allegedly taken part in these alleged killings and rapes which also took a communal colour at some places.

While the CBI is investigating the cases of murder and rape, a three-member SIT is looking into allegations of arson and loot, under the court’s supervision. The three-member SIT is comprised of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers Soumen Mitra (commissioner of Kolkata Police), Suman Bala Sahoo (director general-communication) and Ranveer Kumar (additional director general-administration) who will be monitored by the court and overseen by a retired judge of the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, on 1 September, the West Bengal government approached the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order for a CBI probe. In its special leave petition, the Mamata Banerjee government stated that the CBI was acting on the directions of the Central government and that it was only focusing on registering cases against the office-bearers of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).