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Court questions CID probe into Tah killing

Calcutta, May 11: Calcutta High Court today raised questions on the CID’s probe into the murders of Burdwan CPM leaders Pradip Tah and Kamal Gayen, a day after the agency submitted the chargesheet.

When the case came up for the court’s monitoring today, the division bench of Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice S.K. Chakrabarti asked the CID to produce the station and personal movement dairies of the investigating officer.

Investigators use station diaries to note down details of their assignments. They have to maintain another diary on their movements while conducting a probe.

Referring to the CID dropping the names of three of the 22 people named in the FIR, Patel said: “The investigating officer, as mentioned in the chargesheet, had met all three of them (Tapas Gupta, Saheb Gupta and Taki Hazra) on the same day though their offices are situated in three separate corners of the town (Burdwan). Moreover, on the same day, the investigator collected the statements of their wives. All three wives made identical statements, saying their husbands were not at the spot where Tah and Gayen were killed.”

The chief justice asked public prosecutor Debasish Roy: “What should be the role of the investigator? Will he try to establish the alibis of the accused persons or try to contradict their statements? It appears from the process of the CID probe that the investigator was more interested in establishing the alibis of the accused persons.”

The high court had ordered the CID probe after advocates Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and Subrata Mukhopadhyay moved two public interest litigations demanding that the CBI investigate the murders.

But the court, which had termed the police probe “not satisfactory”, had handed over the case to the CID and said it would monitor the probe.

Bhattacharya requested that a CID officer superior in rank to the person in charge of the probe conduct a fresh investigation. Mukhopadhay pleaded that the probe be handed over to the CBI. He alleged that the CID had failed to collect accurate statements of Tah’s wife Chitralekha and daughter Pritha. The division bench asked Mukhopadhay to file a petition.

Rabishankar Chatterjee, an advocate, said: “What the chief justice said about the progress of the CID investigation amounts to expressing dissatisfaction.”

When The Telegraph contacted the investigating officer, inspector Kalyan Banerjee, he merely said: “I will submit the station diary and the personal movement diary to the high court next Friday.”

Tah was bludgeoned to death with a stone by alleged Trinamul activists when he was leading a CPM procession in Dewandighi on February 22. Gayen was beaten to death when he tried to save Tah. Tah’s brother Prabir had named 22 Trinamul activists in the FIR.

Burdwan CPM secretary Amal Haldar alleged the CID was “forced to drop” the names of three of the accused because of “pressure from Trinamul”. “The names of the three persons were dropped because of pressure from a section of Trinamul leaders. I have heard that the court has criticised the CID. We hope the high court will keep up the pressure on the CID so that it carries out the investigation impartially.”

Chitralekha made similar allegations. “The names of the three persons were dropped deliberately from the chargesheet to mask the truth.”