The Calcutta High Court handed over the probe into the murder of the deputy gram pradhan Bhadu Sheikh which allegedly sparked retaliation violence in the Birbhum district, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Court opined that the two incidents — the murder of panchayti leader and the Birbhum violence that led to at least nine deaths are interlinked. It directed the state police to hand over all the records of the investigation and the accused who have been arrested in connection with the murder case to the CBI.
The CBI is directed to investigate the murder case of Bhadu Sheikh along with the investigation in the case of the Bogtui house burning. The CBI must file a further investigation report in both cases on the next date of hearing.
On Thursday, the central agency submitted a progressive report on their probe in the March 21 violence case under a sealed cover before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj. However, the High Court had reserved its order on whether the CBI should also probe Sheikh’s murder.
The incidents are alleged to be a result of political rivalry.
The report suggests that the incident is an outcome of the rivalry between the members of two groups in the village. The burning of the houses resulting in the death of eight persons was a retaliatory plan. The incidents took place within a gap of about two hours. Material placed on record prima facie suggests a close relationship and linkage between the two incidents. The incidents are alleged to be a result of political rivalry. The applicants’ allegation that both incidents form part of the typical conspiracy and continuous cause of action cannot be ignored. The High Court had, on March 25, ordered the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the state government to probe the violence to hand over the investigation to CBI. The Court further ordered the SIT to hand over all papers related to the case to the CBI and all the 22 suspects, including TMC block president Anarul Hossain, arrested by them. The murder of Bhadu Sheikh in Rampurhat in the evening on March 21 had sparked off a chain of events. At least eight houses were attacked and set on fire, leading to the death of nine people, including women and children. Out of the nine, seven charred bodies were found in the house of one Sona Sheikh.