The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed the West Bengal government to hand over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigations into the January 7 firing at Netai in the State's Paschim Medinipur district in which nine persons were killed, even as it observed that “there is sufficient materials on record to show that the local committee of the CPI(M) Party was involved in the incident.”

Expressing dissatisfaction with the progress of investigations being carried out by the State's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), a division bench comprising Chief Justice J. N. Patel and Justice Asim Kumar Roy passed an interim order directing the State government to hand over the investigations to the CBI and the CBI to submit a preliminary report to the court within 15 days.

Mentioning the presence of two armed camps at Netai and nearby Birkar village, the court expressed concern that even after the arrest of the accused Abani Bhusan Singh and Aswani Chalak on February 14, the CID has not made any progress in identifying the suspects barring those who were mentioned in the FIR.

The order also said that the court had concluded that “the State CID may not be able to discharge its functions fairly and impartially.”

During the hearing, Justice Patel asked Advocate General Balai Chandra Ray that since the local committee of the CPI(M) at Lalgarh was implicated in the incident, why weren't all the members interrogated by the CID. Questions about the procurement of arms and ammunition by the residents of the camp were also raised.

The court ruling was passed on a petition filed by the Calcutta High Court Bar Association on January 10 seeking that the investigations into the incident be handed over to the CBI.

Four persons have been arrested by the police so far.