Bengal custodial death: HC tells CID not to take coercive action against accused CBI officials
On Monday, one of the prime accused in the Birbhum violence case was found dead while he was in the central agency’s custody.
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday told the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department not to take coercive action against officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation accused of involvement in a custodial death case, PTI reported.
On Tuesday, a murder case was filed against seven Central Bureau of Investigation officials, a day after the prime accused man in the violence in Bogtui village of West Bengal’s Birbhum district was found dead while he was in the central agency’s custody, reported NDTV.
Eight people had died in Bogtui on March 21 after their houses were set on fire following the murder of Bhadu Sheikh, a panchayat leader of the Trinamool Congress. Sheikh had succumbed to his injuries after unidentified persons allegedly hurled bombs at him.
Lalan Sheikh, the prime accused man in the case, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on December 4.
On Monday, Sheikh was allegedly found hanging in a washroom of an office that the central agency has set up in a guest house in the Rampurhat area of Birbhum.
His family had alleged torture while in custody. The Central Bureau of Investigation, however, claimed that he died by suicide.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the High Court permitted the Criminal Investigation Department to continue its inquiry into the murder case filed on the basis of a complaint by Sheikh’s wife Reshma Bibi. However, Justice Jay Sengupta ordered that the investigation, particularly the recording of statements and seizure of evidence, should be videographed, according to PTI.
The High Court also told the Criminal Investigation Department not to file a report in connection with its inquiry without the judge’s permission.
Reshma Bibi, in her complaint, has named the deputy inspector general and the superintendent of police of the central agency, besides five other officials.
On Monday, Bibi had alleged that the Central Bureau of Investigation officials threatened to kill her husband and demanded Rs 50 lakh to clear his name in the case, according to NDTV.
Sheikh’s sister Samsunnahar Bibi had told reporters that when the Central Bureau of Investigation officials brought him home, he could hardly stand. “They thrashed him mercilessly,” she claimed. “He was not even allowed to drink water. We want punishment for CBI officers.”
Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra linked the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party with the death and demanded an investigation into Sheikh’s death.
“Everything is very mysterious,” he added. “The BJP leaders including Suvendu Adhikari and Dilip Ghosh had mentioned that something will happen in Bengal in December and Suvendu Adhikari had categorically mentioned the date as December 12.”