The court disapproves of time limit for investigation in rape case

Without mentioning her name, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday disapproved of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee setting a time frame for on-going investigations into the gang rape and murder of a college student at Kamduni last month.

The court will monitor the probe being conducted by the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi said.

Ms. Banerjee during a visit to Kamduni on June 17 said that the charge sheet in connection with the case would be filed within 15 days. A fast track court which received the charge sheet from the CID said on Wednesday that it was “incomplete.”

Imposing this sort of time limit upon investigations creates unnecessary pressure on the investigating agency, observed the court that was hearing a Public Interest Litigation plea on the matter.

The Bench expressed its dissatisfaction with the manner in which the probe was conducted by the CID and pointed out that the deadline of 15 days was populist, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, counsel for the petitioner, later told The Hindu.

The CID told the fast track court that investigations were on and a supplementary charge sheet would be filed. Hearing was adjourned till July 12.

The court directed the CID to submit to it a progress report on its investigation on July 30.

Decision welcomed

Major Opposition parties welcomed the High Court’s decision to monitor the CID probe.

Mohd. Salim, member of the Central Committee of the CPI(M) said the Court’s directive was indicative of the manner in which the Trinamool Congress government was “manipulating the civil and police administrations.”

“When Ms. Banerjee had announced that the charge sheet will be submitted within 15 days we thought she was taking the matter seriously. Now we realise that the real intention behind the hurry in submitting the charge sheet was to shield the rapists,” Pradip Bhattacharya, State Congress president, said.

Meanwhile residents of Kamduni staged a roadblock near the village demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation instead of the CID.