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SC rejects Bengal govt's plea against CBI probe into Sandeshkhali

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: July 08, 2024 15:29 IST
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"Why should the state be interested in protecting someone?" the Supreme Court said on Monday while dismissing the West Bengal government's plea challenging the high court's order, directing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations of crimes against women and land grabbing in Sandeshkhali.

IMAGE: Supreme Court of India. Photograph: Jitender Gupta/ANI Photo

"It is all related to Sandeshkhali. You (state) didn't do anything for months," a bench of Justices B R Gavai and K V Viswanathan told senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who was appearing for the West Bengal government.

Singhvi told the apex court that far-reaching directions issued by the Calcutta high court to the CBI at the most could be restricted to two first information reports (FIRs) related to an attack on the Enforcement Directorate officials in Sandeshkhali.


"The impugned order (of high court) goes into ration scam," he said, adding that in the alleged scam, 43 FIRs were registered.

"FIRs were registered four years back. Who are the accused? When were the arrests made," the bench asked.

"Why should the state be interested in protecting someone?" it observed.

On the last date of the hearing, the counsel appearing for the state said the matter be adjourned after the apex court asked this specific query, it added.

The bench dismissed the plea filed by the state government and clarified that any observations made in the high court's order shall not influence the CBI in conducting the investigation.

"Thank you. Dismissed," it said.

The top court was hearing the state government's plea challenging the Calcutta high court's April 10 order.

While hearing the plea on April 29, the apex court asked the West Bengal government why the state should come in as a petitioner for 'protecting the interest' of some private individuals.

The counsel appearing for the state then said it was aggrieved by some of the comments made in the high court order.

In its plea before the apex court, the state government said the high court's 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 had said.

The CBI is already investigating the attack on the ED officials in Sandeshkhali and has registered three FIRs related to the January 5 incident.

Noting 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.

The high court also directed the 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.

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.

Several 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 said it decided to hand over to the CBI the probe concerning allegations and complaints of people of Sandeshkhali as the central agency is already investigating the attack on ED officials there.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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