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Sandeshkhali: West Bengal govt moves SC against HC order directing CBI probe

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NEW DELHI, April 28: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday a plea by the West Bengal government challenging the Calcutta High Court order which directed a CBI probe into allegations of crimes against women and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta is likely to hear the matter.

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In its plea before the top court, the state government said the high court’s April 10, 2024 order demoralised the entire state machinery, including the police force.

“The high court in a very generic order directed the State to provide the required support to the CBI without any guidelines, which amounts to usurping the powers of the state police to investigate any cognisable offence in the Sandeshkhali area, even if the same is not related to the allegations levelled by the PIL petitioners,” the plea said.

The CBI is already investigating the case of attack on Enforcement Directorate officials in Sandeshkhali and has registered three FIRs related to incidents on January 5.

Stating that the investigation will be monitored by the court, the high court directed the CBI to file a comprehensive report on the alleged illegal conversion of agricultural land into water bodies for pisciculture after conducting a thorough inspection of revenue records and physical inspection of land alleged to have been converted.

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The high court also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate allegations of crimes against women and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali and submit a comprehensive report to it on the next date of hearing.

The high court bench had directed that the matter will be heard again on May 2, the date on which the CBI was asked to file the report.

ED officials were attacked on January 5 by a mob when they went to Sandeshkhali to search the premises of now-suspended Trinamool Congress leader Shahjahan Sheikh in connection with a ration distribution scam case.

Passing the judgement, the high court observed that an impartial inquiry is required to be done by an agency which has the power to probe the criminal angle stated to be involved.

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Noting that the petitioners had prayed for the constitution of an enquiry committee to be headed by a retired judge, the high court had said that it decided to order an investigation by the CBI considering the nature of allegations involving crimes against women and grabbing of land of locals, including those belonging to Scheduled Tribes and the volume of complaints placed before it by one of the petitioners.

Around 600 complaints in the form of affidavits, including those of alleged sexual atrocities, land grabbing and other crimes such as assault and destruction of property, have been submitted before the high court by petitioner-lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal.

The high court had said it decided to hand over to the CBI the probe with regard to allegations and complaints of people of Sandeshkhali as the central agency is already investigating the attack on ED officials there. (PTI)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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