The West Bengal Government on Wednesday moved to the Supreme court of the country, against the Calcutta High Court’s verdict. The recent Calcutta HC verdict on Bengal’s post-poll violence asked the CBI to probe into it.
However, the state government seems to think that a CBI probe would not be a fair one. The TMC government in Bengal suggests that the intelligence agency, at the behest of the Centre, is already going after TMC leaders and targeting the state.
The High Court had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe into the murder and crimes against women, that had increased in the state post-polling of the latest assembly election, where the TMC under the leadership of Mamta Banerjee caused a major upset for the hopeful BJP cadre.
"All cases as per report of NHRC committee where allegations are about murder of person or crime against women regarding rape or attempt to rape shall be referred to CBI for investigation," the High Court Court had ordered in its August 19 order.
The court further said that the state would hand over all records of cases to the CBI for the investigation. Additionally, the High court referred all other cases cited by the NHRC committee to a Special Investigation Team (SIT), composed of three IPS officers from the West Bengal Cadre, for a court-monitored probe.
The working of the SIT will be monitored by a retired Supreme Court judge. The High court asked all state authorities to cooperate with the CBI and SIT for the probe.
However, the state government is not too happy about the verdict. Filling a special leave against the August 19 order of the HC, the TMC government through advocate Suhan Mukherjee said that the CBI is already engaged in a hunt down of TMC leaders and state officials and it apprehends that the agency would use the post-poll violence probe as a ploy to further impose false cases on TMC MLAs and ministers.
The state has already registered a complaint under Article 131 of the constitution, citing a Centre-State dispute over the egregious violation of the federal framework by the CBI. The CBI continued to register cases on incidents within the state, despite the West Bengal government withdrawing the general consent, which allowed the agency to probe within its boundaries.
Although the SC had previously ruled that the CBI can probe within a state, even after the withdrawal of the general consent, on the directives of the SC or the HC. However, the state believes the HC directive would undermine the role of the state police who have promptly and effectively registered FIRs and arrested accused in the post-poll violence.
The relationship between the CBI and the state has been rocky, to say the least, over the recent arrests of TMC big shots by the agency while probing the Narada scam. It has caused the state government to be apprehensive of the CBI probe on the post-poll violence, suggesting the Centre would use the CBI as a tool to drag the TMC government through the mud, with foil cases.
-Supratik Mitra (02/09/21)