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HC seeks Madhyamgram report

The high court on Thursday directed the additional home secretary to file an affidavit by January 16 stating whether the state government was considering handing over the Madhyamgram rape and murder case to the CBI.

“After receiving the affidavit, this court will decide whether it would apply its judicial power on the issue or not,” Justice Dipankar Dutta said in his order.

The judge also asked police to provide adequate protection to the family of the 16-year-old, who had allegedly been gang-raped twice in Madhyamgram last October and set on fire in the family’s one-room rented accommodation in the airport area on December 23. The family shifted to the airport area after allegedly being hounded out of Madhyamgram.

Justice Dutta’s order followed a petition by the father of the girl seeking a CBI probe.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, who appeared for the girl’s father, submitted that Madhyagram police had taken the case lightly from the beginning. The second rape could have been prevented and the girl could have been still alive had the police reacted soon after the FIR was filed on October 26 following the first rape, the lawyer submitted.

“On October 25, the 16-year-old victim was first raped. The next day, her father, along with her, went to lodge a complaint with Madhyamgram police station. They had to wait at the police station from 9am to 7pm to lodge the complaint.

“After the complaint was lodged, some people started threatening the family to withdraw it. The family had to leave their home. But the miscreants traced them to their new home on December 12. The threats increased and, finally, the girl was set on fire. She died at RG Kar hospital on December 31,” Bhattacharyya submitted.

The accused were arrested only after the girl was raped a second time. Two more were arrested after she was set ablaze. The police and the administration did not show any interest in the case because the family was “very poor”, the lawyer submitted.

“Even now the police are not providing enough protection to the family. The family members have no faith in the police investigation. The court should hand over the investigation to the CBI,” Bhattacharyya pleaded with the bench.

Opposing the petition, advocate-general Bimal Chatterjee submitted that the state government has taken “all possible steps to try the culprits”.

The judge asked: “But why are your police not providing protection to the family?”

Government pleader Ashok Kumar Bannerjee submitted: “How can we protect them? They have already taken political shelter.”

The judge said: “This court is not here to see the political colours of petitions. It is the duty of the state and the police to protect every citizen.”

The advocate-general intervened at this point. “You are right, my Lord. We will take care of them.”

The judge then ordered the additional home secretary to file an affidavit on the plea for a CBI probe and ruled: “The state will have to provide enough protection to the family.”