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Plea to shift sabotage case

Calcutta, July 14: The CBI today moved a petition in Calcutta High Court seeking the transfer of the Jnaneswari Express sabotage case from a court in Maoist-affected Jhargram to a court in the city because of security reasons.

CBI lawyer Himangshu De told the high court today that the situation in Jhargram was “grave” and Maoists were launching “regular attacks on the police there”. “For the sake of the lives of the police and the accused, the court should transfer the venue of the Jnaneswari sabotage case from Jhargram to Calcutta,” he said.

De said six of the seven arrested accused were lodged in Midnapore jail while the other was in Jhargram jail. He said the distance between Midnapore jail and the Jhargram additional chief judicial magistrate’s court, where the case is being heard, was 40km.

“The accused are brought in police vehicles by road to the court. The road is lined by dense forests on either side. Maoists could ambush the police vehicles or trigger blasts any moment,” De said.

Justice Asim Roy, however, asked the lawyer how the case could be transferred to Calcutta while the probe was being conducted in Jhargram. “You are yourself saying the probe is in the primary stage and most of the accused are absconding,” the judge told De.

Roy said the case could be transferred only after the investigation was complete and fixed the date of the next hearing on July 21.

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