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Judiciary

'HC already looking into it,' SC declines to allow plea for court monitored CBI probe into Sandeshkhali sexual assault case

By Jhanak Singh      19 February, 2024 09:07 PM      0 Comments
HC already looking into it SC declines to allow plea for court monitored CBI probe into Sandeshkhali sexual assault case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a plea for a CBI or SIT probe into alleged sexual assault of women by the TMC members in Sandeshkhali village in Basirhat, saying the High Court was already examining a matter.

A bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih said the High Court was already seized of the matter.

"Let there not be a dual forum hearing," the bench said.

Petitioner advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava contended that the High Court may not be able to constitute a team of officers outside the state. He also insisted for setting up a panel of former judges as was done in the case of Manipur violence for healing the wounds of the women victims.

The bench, however, said the instant matter can't be compared with that Manipur incident.

The court also said the High Court can form the SIT with officers from outside the state.

The Calcutta High Court on February 13, 2024 took suo motu cognisance of the matter.

In his plea, the petitioner contended "deeply disturbing allegations" of sexual assault of the women of Sandeshkhali by the leaders of the ruling party of the state of West Bengal, as those were evident from a perusal of the relevant portions of the HC's order.

"For quite some time now, three notorious criminals of the locality namely, Shajahan, Shiba Prasad Hazra and Uttam Sardar, all belonging to the ruling political dispensation, had been torturing the inhabitants of the area in various ways," the HC had said.

"The miscreants would take away women from the locality in the midst of night to their offices and sexually exploit them. No complaint was taken by the local police authorities. In fact, often the police would refer the complainant to the said Shiba," the HC had added.

He had also cited attack faced by a  team of Enforcement Directorate officers which went to raid prime accused Sheikh’s house in Sandeshkhali in connection with alleged irregularities in the PDS scheme. The petitioner claimed the police were hand in glove with the accused.

A number of women in North 24 Parganas district have come forward, alleging Trinamool leaders of engaging in land grab and committing sexual assault.

Prime accused Sheikh is still on run



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