The Calcutta High Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in the case related to the violence in West Bengal Birbhum’s district in which eight people were burned to death, Live Law reported. The Court also took on record the case diary submitted by the investigating authorities.

“We will consider and pass an order,” the Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj said orally after hearing arguments from the petitioner and the state government.

Eight people had died on March 22 after their houses were set on fire following the alleged murder of a panchayat leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress. The bench of Justices Prakash Shrivastava and Rajarshi Bharadwaj had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter.

At Thursday’s hearing, the counsel for the petitioner demanded that the case must be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other impartial investigating agency.

In response, Advocate General SN Mookherjee, appearing on behalf of the West Bengal government, said that a probe by the CBI is necessary in rare and exceptional cases only.

Mookherjee also told the court that 31 CCTV cameras have been installed at the site of the incident, as and protection has been provided to witnesses in the case. On Wednesday, the court had directed the authorities to take these steps.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident in Bogtui village. The human rights body has issued notices to the chief secretary of West Bengal and the state police and asked them to submit detailed reports on the matter within four weeks.

The incident

The violence in Birbhum’s Bogtui village took place following the alleged murder of Bhadu Sheikh, a panchayat leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress. He died after miscreants allegedly hurled bombs at him on Monday night.

Hours later, violence erupted and several houses, including two belonging to the men accused of Sheikh’s murder, were allegedly attacked and set on fire.

The police said women and children were among those killed. Seven charred bodies were recovered from one house alone, while one person died of injuries in a hospital in the district.

The police have filed two first information reports, one in connection with Sheikh’s death and the second related to the attack on the houses.

At least 22 people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence. Eleven of them were held on the day of the incident only.

The killings have sparked a political controversy in the state with the West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar accusing the Mamata Banerjee government of allowing the state’s law and order situation to collapse.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the Bogtui village on Thursday, alleged that there was a larger conspiracy in the violence. She said that stringent action will be taken against those accused and that the police would investigate the violence from all angles.