NEW DELHI, Aug 13 (PTI): The CBI is set to investigate nine more cases related to Manipur violence, which will take the total number of cases probed by the agency to 17, officials have said.
Officials in the know of the developments said the probe by the central agency would not be limited to these 17 cases. Any other case related to crime against women or sexual assault may also be referred to it on priority, they said.
The CBI has so far registered eight cases which include two related to alleged sexual assault on women in Manipur. It is in the process of taking over nine more cases, officials said.
According to them, the probe agency is likely to take over one more case of alleged sexual assault in the state’s Churachandpur district.
With the society divided on ethnic lines, the CBI is facing the critical task of avoiding allegations of bias during the Manipur operation as any involvement of people from one community will result in fingers pointed from the other side, the officials said.
Sources said that several of these cases being probed by the CBI may attract provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which can be probed by a deputy superintendent of police rank officer.
Since the deputy SPs cannot be supervisory officers in such cases, the agency will mobilise its superintendents of police to supervise and monitor the investigations, they said.
The central probe agency will transfer all forensic samples to its Central Forensic Science Laboratory as any sample collection or its investigation by any attendant from either of the two warring communities may result in question marks on the fairness of the investigation, they said.
The CBI has also mobilised women officers in the state for investigation of cases related to crimes against women which is a mandatory requirement for recording statements and questioning purposes, they said.
More than 160 people have been killed, and several hundred injured since ethnic violence first broke out in the state on May 3 when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.