Nearly three months after the brutal murder of BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday finally took notice of the killing of BJP worker by ordering a second autopsy of the body after the West Bengal police and state administration refused the family the same.
In a scathing order on Thursday, the Calcutta High Court ordered a court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) into the heinous cases of murder, rape and crime against women and other human rights violations that happened in West Bengal in May 2021 after TMC returned to power.
Delivering the judgement after hearing a batch of petitions on the post-poll violence allegedly unleashed by the TMC workers against opposition workers, the Calcutta High Court also ordered the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government to hand over the autopsy report and other sealed cover documents of Avijit Sarkar to the CBI.
On May 2, Avijit Sarkar, a BJP worker and the vice-president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Trade Union Council was allegedly murdered by TMC workers in Kolkata’s Narkeldanga area following the announcement of the assembly poll result. After his death, the family had alleged that he was dragged by his neck using a cable wire and then hit with stones till he died. His pet dogs too were killed by the mob, the family had alleged.
BJP worker Avijit Sarkar took to Facebook to narrate the harrowing tale of violence that the TMC goons subjected him to. The video was uploaded just hours before he was lynched to death by the miscreants.
“I don’t know how to come live (on Facebook). They hurled bombs right in front of my eyes and vandalised my house and the party office. My only mistake is that I am a BJP worker,” he had recounted just hours before his killing.
In the interim report, the NHRC took account of Sarkar’s horrific killing and recorded that the deceased BJP leader’s body was lying in the mortuary as the family was demanding a second autopsy. However, the West Bengal police and the Mamata Banerjee-led administration did not approve the same.
Calcutta High Court orders second autopsy of Sarkar body, report to be handed over to the CBI
Hearing the petitions filed by the family of the deceased BJP leader, the Calcutta High Court, in its order, directed the state government to conduct another autopsy and DNA report and hand it over to the CBI.
“His brother had to approach this court for conducting a second autopsy, which was allowed, and it was conducted from Command Hospital, Kolkata, as the victim was not having faith in the government machinery,” the court order stated, adding that the autopsy report should specifically mention about the condition of the body as to whether it was properly preserved in the hospital or not.
Earlier, Sarkar’s DNA test report was submitted to the court in a sealed cover along with another envelope containing a certificate under Section 65-B of the Evidence Act concerning the video recording of the post mortem. The court ordered both documents to be kept in safe custody with the Registrar General to be handed over to the CBI.
“The sealed cover submitted by the committee along with its report, second autopsy report of Avijit Sarkar, DNA analysis report as submitted by the Director Command Hospital, Kolkata, and any other sealed cover pertaining to the case, lying with the Registrar General of this court shall be handed over to the authorised officer of the CBI against proper receipt,” the HC said.
Avijit Sarkar’s family welcomes the High Court order
Meanwhile, the family of Avijit Sarkar has welcomed the High Court order of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in all post-poll killings. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Biswajit Sarkar, the victim’s brother, said that they have finally found justice.
“Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders threatened my brother and me with dire consequences during the polls. The attack started as soon as the results were announced on the afternoon of May 2. A mob-tied television wire around my brother’s neck and dragged him along the road. They smashed his head with a stone. The police did not register a complaint although we pleaded several times,” he added.
The family also alleged that some police officers even threatened them and said they would pick the names of the accused. “We refused to comply,” said Sarkar as he placed flowers before a pillar inside the Calcutta High Court. “This is the least people like us can do to pay tribute to the seat of justice,” he said.
Calcutta High Court orders CBI probe in post-poll violence in West Bengal
In a huge setback to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered a court-monitored probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) into the heinous cases of murder, rape and crime against women and other human rights violations that happened in West Bengal in May 2021 after TMC returned to power.
A five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice IP Mukerji, Justice Harish Tandon, Justice Soumen Sen and Justice Subrata Talukdar on Thursday pronounced the judgement in a batch of petitions alleging Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government’s inaction over the brutal acts of violence unleashed by members of ruling Trinamool Congress in the aftermath of assembly elections.
In its scathing order, the Calcutta High Court ordered that the High Court will monitor the CBI investigation into the post-poll violence in the state.
The High Court has directed that a Special Investigation Team, under the monitoring of the Court, should investigate the other criminal cases related to post-poll violence. IPS officers Suman Bala Sahoo, Soumen Mitra and Ranbir Kumar of the West Bengal cadre have been made the members of the SIT. The working of SIT will be monitored by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, the High Court said.
The court noted that the police filed no FIR in over 60% of the cases.
The Court has also ordered the West Bengal government to grant compensation for the victims of the post-poll violence immediately. In a major embarrassment to Mamata Banerjee-led government, the High Court rejected the allegations of bias against the National Human Rights Commission, a team of which had submitted a fact-finding report to the court as per its directions.
In his lead judgment, Justice Bindal observed that the fact-finding report of the NHRC committee had exposed the police inaction, and hence the matter required independent investigation.
The High Court noted that the registration of cases and investigation against the workers of the ruling TMC was slow, and in a number of cases, FIRs were registered only after the committee pointed out those. On August 3, the Calcutta High Court had reserved judgment on a batch of petitions pertaining to the post-poll violence in West Bengal unleashed by the TMC cadre against the BJP workers.