The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be formed to look into the unnatural death of a girl at Kaliaganj on April 21 in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district. Justice Rajasekhar Mantha said that the SIT was necessary “to restore the faith of the family and the public at large in the investigation”.
The court directed that a SIT be formed comprising Upendra Nath Biswas, a retired Additional Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Pankaj Datta, a retired Inspector-General of Police from the State, and Damayanti Sen, a senior IPS officer of the State police.
“The SIT shall be at liberty to appoint any person or persons of their choice to assist in their investigation. The SIT shall have all the powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure to conduct the investigation into the death of the victim and the FIR No. 156 of 2023 dated 21st April, 2023,” the order by the High Court said. Justice Mantha directed that Director-General of Police, West Bengal, Kaliyaganj Police Station and the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Itahar, shall hand over all the materials including the case diary to the SIT as and when asked for.
The Court also added that the SIT shall consider and be free to order a second post-mortem if deemed necessary by them.
Justice Mantha ordered that the SIT will look into the investigation and also consider the reports of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and its State counterpart, the SCPCR. He said the two Commissions need not proceed in the matter any further. “Both the NCPCR and the SCPCR shall submit their respective reports to the SIT for their consideration,” the order said. The court added that Kaliyaganj Police Station shall ensure sufficient protection to the family members of the victim.
The death of the 17-year-old girl at Kaliaganj on April 21 had triggered huge protests in the area. Locals had also attacked and set Kaliaganj police station on fire. The family members of the victim alleged that the girl was murdered whereas the police said that prima facie, death was due to suicide.
The SIT probe comes in the wake of several other orders of the Calcutta High Court where it had shown lack of faith in State police and assigned central investigating agencies to probe incidents of violence and political killings.