Court directs Netai probe to be handed over to CBI

Kolkata, Feb 18 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court todaydirected the West Bengal government to hand over to CBI theinvestigation into the January 7 killing of nine people atNetai village near Lalgarh, observing that the CID was unableto conduct an impartial probe owing to the alleged involvementof CPI-M members and leaders.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice J N Pateland Justice Asim Kumar Roy directed CID to hand over thepapers of the case and the two accused in its custody to CBIforthwith.

Visibly unhappy with CID''s investigation, the benchalso directed it to cooperate with and assist the centralagency as and when required.

The court, which will monitor the case, directed theCBI to furnish a progress report before it after a fortnightwhen the matter would come up for hearing again.

In a scathing observation, the bench said that afterarresting the two accused, the CID has not been able toprogress any further in arresting the accused who had firedupon innocent villagers and those who were involved in settingup the armed camp in the house of a CPI-M leader at Netai.

The bench said that it has no hesitation to come tothe conclusion that the CID was not being able to take theinvestigation beyond this point as the suspects are membersand leaders of the ruling party.

Stating that it fails to understand what prevents theCID to lay their hands to the root of the problem and questionthe CPI-M cadres and leaders there, the bench observed that inits view the CID was not able to carry on with theinvestigation fairly and impartially.

Observing that no further time should be wasted on theCID, the bench felt it would be appropriate to direct thegovernment of West Bengal to hand over the investigation tothe CBI and extend all possible logistical support to it.

Lalgarh, in which Netai village is situated, hadearlier been a Maoist hotbed, but has lately been reclaimed byCPI-M, which has allegedly set up several armed camps there.

Before passing the order, the bench went through thecase diary in the matter and observed that the CID had notbeen able to progress after the arrest of two accused --CPI-M worker Aswini Chalak and Abani Singh, a member ofCPI-M''s Lalgarh local committee.

The bench asked Advocate-General Balai Roy to state ifit was a dead end for them, to which he submitted that theaccused were being interrogated, but so far little progresshad been made.

The court asked why the CPI-M''s local committeemembers and leaders of Lalgarh were not being interrogated bythe CID. .

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