High Court Orders CBI Probe Into Trinamool Leader’s 2011 Murder Case

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The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed that the investigation into the 11-year-old murder case of TMC leader Tapan Dutta be transferred to the CBI from the state CID.

It ordered that fresh trial in the case be completed within six months from the date of its commencement.

Tapan Dutta was shot dead in 2011 for allegedly speaking up against illegal land filling and construction in Bengal’s Howrah district.

Maintaining that the victim may have been obstructing huge monetary and political gain that some persons were after, Justice Rajasekhar Mantha observed that fair and effective investigation may indeed open a can of worms or expose any likely role of influential persons. “This Court directs that investigation and prosecution in the matter is to be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation forthwith,” Justice Mantha said in his judgement.

He ruled that the CBI may, in its discretion, conduct further investigation, as it deems necessary. The CID, which had so far been probing the murder of Tapan Dutta, was told to forthwith hand over all the case papers and evidence collected.

Noting that pressure on the state police and investigation agencies to shield certain persons and their nefarious actions cannot be ruled out, Justice Mantha said that change of the investigating and prosecuting agency in the case is necessary to instill faith in the family of the victim and the public at large.

He stated that a comprehensive, honest, sincere and fair investigation is imperative and indispensable for an effective and fair prosecution as well as trial.

Observing that investigation in the case by the CID has been perfunctory, the court said that the petitioner’s contentions and apprehensions about it have been vindicated.

“The State agencies have clearly failed to effectively investigate the crime and bring the actual culprits to book. There is thus, an urgent and immediate need to instil public faith in the investigation and trial, which provides sufficient impetus for the change in the investigation agency,” it pointed out.

Holding that the prosecutor in the case had earlier failed to place evidence before the trial court, which acquitted five accused in the case, Justice Mantha said that he is is of the view that the prosecutor has not been able to adequately discharge his duties.

Petitioner Protima Dutta, the wife of the deceased, had moved the high court in June 2012 seeking transfer of investigation to an independent agency The court noted that Dutta, who was a prominent member of ruling TMC, had started agitation against illegal filling up of water bodies in the Bally-Jagacha area in Howrah district.

The petitioner had named 12 people, state minister Arup Roy, for allegedly being responsible for the death of her husband, the court noted.

However, charges were framed only against some of them.

The petitioner claimed that Dutta was murdered for his opposition to, and agitation against, the landfill.

The investigation was in the past transferred by the state government from Bally police station to the CID.

The sessions court in Howrah, in its judgement on January 7, 2015, had acquitted five accused persons in the case, stating that it found the process of investigation dissatisfactory.

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