The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the murder of Trinamool Congress leader Bhadu Sheikh in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, reported Live Law.

On March 21, Bhadu Sheikh, the panchayat head of Barshal village, had succumbed to his injuries after attackers hurled crude bombs at him. A day after this, violence had erupted in Bogtui village and several houses were attacked and set on fire with petrol bombs.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking a CBI inquiry into Sheikh’s death. A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj on Friday ordered the transfer of Sheikh’s murder case from the state police to the central agency for a thorough investigation.

The court on Thursday had taken on record the CBI’s preliminary report on the violence and had reserved its order to transfer the case to the central probing agency.

On March 25, the Calcutta High Court had directed the CBI to take over the case from West Bengal Police’s Special Investigation Team.

At Thursday’s hearing, the counsel representing the central agency had told the bench that officers were using the latest technology to investigate the violence.

The state government’s counsel, however, argued that the police were investigating the matter. Three out of the four petitions also did not seek an inquiry by the central agency, the state submitted.

Additional Solicitor General YJ Dastoor, representing the CBI, said the agency was to look into the matter of Sheikh’s death but that evidence may have been tampered with or destroyed by now.

The violence

Violence broke out in Birbhum following the alleged murder of Sheikh, a panchayat leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress. He died after miscreants allegedly hurled bombs at him on Monday night.

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

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

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

The police have filed two first information reports, one in connection with Sheikh’s death and the second related to attack on the houses. The accused persons have been booked on charges of murder, attempt to murder, arson and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.