HC to monitor CID probe

Only days after it faced a huge setback in the Supreme Court over panchayat election, the Mamata Banerjee government was on Thursday left red-faced in the Calcutta high court, which decided to monitor the CID investigation of the Kamduni rape-cum-murder case. What must have come as a personal embarrassment to the chief minister was the court’s stinging chastisement of her announcement that she would ensure that the chargesheet was filed within 15 days.
Describing the fixing of such short period deadline as a populist gimmick, the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi said that it put unnecessary pressure on the investigative agency. The court, however, made it clear that it would not succumb to such public pressure but act impartially.
Only a day earlier the Barasat fast-track court had slammed the CID for filing a shoddy chargesheet. Judge Arpan Chatterjee was so unhappy that he asked, “Is it a chargesheet?” Dismissing the 147-page document submitted by the CID as incomplete, he had asked whether he should refer the case to the high court for a CBI probe. Only a day later hearing a PIL, which was filed to pray for a special investigation team for the Kamduni case and court monitoring, the division bench of Calcutta high court praised the Barasat fast-track court for its stern observations.
On June 7, the brutal gangrape and murder of a second year student of Kamduni triggered widespread public protests in the Barasat village. In a damage control exercise, the chief minister visited the village 10 days later and announced that her police would expedite the investigation in the case, submit the chargesheet within 15 days and the culprits would be given punishment within a month. “The government will plead for their death sentence,” Ms Banerjee had announced.
The lawyer for the petitioner Bikash Bhattacharya later said that the high court made it clear that such announcements led to hasty investigation. “Proper investigation can be done only following due process of law,” he added.
Welcoming the decision of the Calcutta high court, Opposition parties said that now there was hope for a fair investigation of the case. “The chargesheet showed that the state government was trying to shield some culprits and for this purpose using the CID as a tool,” CPI(M) central committee member Mohammad Salim said.

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