Inquiries into violence following the April-May election in Bengal will be conducted by a special team to be set up by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Calcutta High Court said Thursday. Kolkata Police Commissioner, Soumen Mitra, will be part of that special team, the court said.
A five-member bench headed by acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal was ruling on a clutch of petitions seeking an impartial probe into the alleged post-poll violence in the state.
The BJP had accused the Trinamool of unleashing its thugs to kill party workers, attack women members, vandalise houses, and loot shops and offices belonging to its leaders.
The Bengal government hit back saying reports of violence were greatly exaggerated, with fake videos and images circulated to create incorrect narratives.
The government also said most of the violence took place on or around May 2 (vote-counting day), when state police was under the control of the Election Commission.
Earlier the Calcutta High Court bench had asked the National Human Rights Commission, or NHRC, to carry out a preliminary inquiry.
In its controversial report, the NHRC slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government over the alleged incidents of violence, and accused them of “appalling apathy”. The NHRC recommended a CBI probe into “grievous offences like murder and rape”, and said these cases should be tried outside the state.
In a sweeping indictment of the Bengal government, the NHRC said the situation in Bengal (at the time of the alleged incidents) was a “manifestation of law of ruler instead of rule of law”, and that “the local police has been grossly derelict, if not complicit, in this violence.”
The report did not go unanswered; Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the NHRC for “disrespecting the court” and pursuing the “political vendetta” of the BJP by leaking its report.
The NHRC denied her charge that the report was leaked, and pointed out that the report was available with “all concerned parties as per directives of the court”.
Last month the Bengal government urged the High Court to “disregard the contents of the entire report” as it “does not depict the true and correct picture”.
The affidavit also said several members of the NHRC panel were directly linked to the BJP and, therefore, biased against the state’s ruling dispensation.
The issue of post-poll violence has also gone to the Supreme Court via families of the victims who are demanding a CBI probe and a plea seeking direction to the centre to impose President’s Rule in the state.