The Calcutta High Court on Friday transferred the Birbhum massacre case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj directed the CBI to probe the massacre in the “interest of justice” , “fair investigation” and to “instill confidence in society”.
The court also directed the state authorities to extend full cooperation to the central agency in probing the case.
“We direct the state authorities to extend full cooperation to CBI in carrying out the further investigation. In view of this order, the state police authorities or SIT formed by the State will not carry any further investigation in the matter from the time the same is handed over to CBI.”
“CBI will not only be handed over the case papers but also the accused and suspects who were arrested in the matter and in custody. Hence, we direct the CBI to forthwith take over the investigation in the case and submit the progress report before us on the next date of hearing. We make it clear that any factual observation made in this order is only tentative for the purpose of deciding the issue of transfer of Investigation to the CBI and will not be treated as binding in any other proceeding.”
Advocate General S.N. Mookherjee prayed for stay of the order. However, the court denied the request and termed the incident as “undisputed shocking incident” which has shaken the conscience of the society.
“We find that the undisputed shocking incident of burning of at least 8 people including a child and as many as 6 women has shaken the conscience of the society. It has nationwide ramification and all the national media reports are flooded with the news of this unfortunate incident.”
Eight people, including two children were charred to death as their houses were set on fire in Bogtui in Birbhum’s Rampurhat block on early Tuesday after alleged murder of a Trinamool Congress (TMC) Panchayat official.
The order of the High Court was welcomed by the BJP and Congress members. BJP’s IT Cell Chief Amit Malviya said in a tweet that he is “Grateful to the Calcutta High Court for ordering CBI prove in the Birbhum massacre. Mamata Banerjee’s admin and SIT constituted by the West Bengal government inspired no confidence whatsoever. It seemed more like a means to cover up the crime and protect TMC leaders involved in the killings of the innocent people.”