The road in front of CPM leader Rathin Dandapaths house that used to double as the CPM camp in Netai from which the firing took place on January 7. (Amit Datta).
Calcutta, Jan. 19: The Calcutta High Court order expressing satisfaction over the progress in the CID probe into the Netai firing has come as an interim relief to the CPM but the party said it was hardly a cause for cheer as the judiciary had kept the possibility of a CBI probe open.
Our government had opposed a CBI probe and advocated the continuance of the CID inquiry in its affidavit submitted to Calcutta High Court. We welcome todays order. It is an interim relief for us, a CPM central committee member said.
However, he said the verdict was a bit worrisome too for the CPM as the high court had stated that it might hand over the case to the CBI if it found at any stage that the CID probe was unsatisfactory. So we have hardly anything to be cheerful about, the leader said.
He said the party was apprehensive because any major incident of political killing in the coming weeks may prompt the court to order a CBI probe into the Netai firing as the Trinamul Congress will cite further deterioration in law and order to demand investigation by the central agency.
The central committee member said the CPM would have to be cautious and careful not to fall into any trap laid by Trinamul and Maoists as was the case in Netai. He said Trinamul and Maoists would make efforts to trap or provoke us.
The party leadership, however, preferred not to speak too much on record on todays court, saying it was a sensitive issue.
The firing has already created a political controversy. So it will not be prudent to speak on the court order. However, if the CID continues with the probe, as ordered by the court, it will be good, said Mohammad Salim, CPM state secretariat member and state party spokesperson.
The party today toned down its stance on compensation to those killed and injured in the firing. Salim said his party felt there should not be any problem in paying the compensation as lots of people are being killed.
In its affidavit to the high court, the state government had said it could not be forced to pay compensation if it was proved that private parties not owing allegiance to the CPM had been involved in the firing.
A CPM state committee member said the party felt there was no need for a battle over the compensation issue as the humanitarian side of any tragedy has to be considered.
A section of CPM leaders said the compensation order and the order directing the joint forces to dismantle unauthorised armed camps in Jungle Mahal had put the party in an awkward position.
The party had earlier said law and order was a state subject and hence any effort to pull down such camps, if at all they existed, should be left to the state government.
Today, the CPM said that according to its revised stand, the courts order regarding the camps would not worry us much as the joint forces comprised both state and central personnel.
Trinamul MP Kalyan Banerjee, who had fought for one of the petitioners in the Netai case, said: The court may have turned down the demand for a CBI probe now but on February 4, it will scan the report it has sought from the state home secretary on the progress made by the CID in the case. It will take a final decision on a CBI probe then. On the issues of armed camps and compensation, its a clear victory for us.