Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea for CBI probe

Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea for CBI probe

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Supreme Court

Supreme Court 

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or a special investigative team (SIT) probe into the violence in West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali.

A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan also asked the petitioner Alakh Alok Srivastava not to compare the violence in Sandeshkhali to the riots which took place in Manipur.

This was after the petitioner referred to Supreme Court’s concern over sexual violence against women in Manipur.

“Please do not compare with what happened in Manipur to what happened here. Please,” Justice Nagarathna said.

The Court said the petitioner can approach the Calcutta High Court for relief. Srivastava then chose to withdraw the plea with the Court granting him the liberty to approach the High Court.

“This plea is dismissed as withdrawn with liberty reserved to approach High Court,” the bench said in its order.

Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan

During the hearing, Srivastava emphasized that given the prayers in the plea, Calcutta High Court could not look into the matter. He asserted that for a proper investigation, it would be necessary to engage officers from other States.

Justice Nagarathna however disagreed and underlined that High Courts also have the power to constitute an SIT with officers from other States.

Justice Bhuyan too weighed in and highlighted that the Calcutta High Court has already taken cognisance of the matter.

Srivastava then cited difficulties faced by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) due to alleged attacks on their personnel in West Bengal.

“There is a TMC leader Sheikh Shahjahan. ED is probing him and when ED went there, all of them were attacked. Even for ED, it is difficult to conduct trial there,” he said.

He further stated that women in Sandeshkhali have alleged gangrape and were equally oppressed.

However, the Court emphasized the need for Calcutta High Court to handle the matter so as to avoid multiple proceedings before different courts.

Srivastava then withdrew the plea with liberty to approach the Calcutta High Court.

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