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HC wants Damayanti for Madhyamgram probe

Calcutta, Jan. 17: Calcutta High Court today expressed its desire to appoint Damayanti Sen, the DIG (operations) of the CID who had cracked the Park Street gang rape case while serving in Calcutta police, as a special officer to probe the Madhyamgram rape and murder.

Responding to a petition by the victim’s father demanding a CBI inquiry, Justice Dipankar Dutta said: “If she (Sen) agrees, the high court will appoint her as a special officer to conduct the probe. She will be allowed to include police officers of her choice in her team and the probe will be conducted under the supervision of the court.”

Dutta asked advocate-general Bimal Chatterjee to let him know about Sen’s decision by January 20.

Chatterjee proposed Sen’s name as a special officer when the victim’s lawyer was pillorying the state police for not being able to protect the girl.

In his petition submitted in the last week of December, the 16-year-old victim’s taxi driver father had mentioned how his daughter was gang-raped twice in October, forced to flee her home and intimidated to withdraw her complaint before she was found engulfed in flames at home. She died on December 31.

During today’s hearing, Sen’s name emerged when the advocate-general was opposing the arguments in favour of a CBI probe.

“Damayanti Sen had done a good job in the Park Street gang rape case. Her impartiality is unquestionable. The court can hand over the probe to her,” Chatterjee said.

In February 2012, Sen, who was then joint commissioner, detective department of Calcutta police, had confirmed in a news conference that the mother of two had indeed been raped in a moving car on Park Street. The chief minister had dubbed the allegation of rape “sajano ghatana (fabricated incident)”.

Sen’s team arrested four of the accused hours after the former commissioner of police said in a news conference that the gang-rape complaint was made to malign the state government.

Sen was transferred as deputy inspector-general of police (training) in Barrackpore. Recently, Sen was appointed DIG (operations) of the CID.

After hearing the petition submitted by the Madhyamgram victim’s father, the judge had asked the home secretary last week to file an affidavit stating whether the government was ready to hand over the case to the CBI.

Advocate-general Chatterjee today said in the court that the state police had taken all possible steps in the case.

“All six FIR-named accused have been arrested and the chargesheets have been filed. The hearing for framing of charges against the accused will start today. At this stage, the court should not hand over the investigation to another agency,” he said.

However, the police have been accused of failing to protect the girl from being raped a second time and intimidated. The police had also allegedly tried to deny the second rape.

Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, the counsel for the victim’s father, told the court today: “Even after filing of chargesheets against the accused, the probe can be handed over to the CBI.”

Chatterjee then mentioned Sen’s name.

The judge wanted to know where Sen was posted. When advocate-general Chatterjee said Sen was in Calcutta, the judge asked him to contact her and take her consent.

“If she agrees, the court will appoint her as special officer,” Justice Dutta said.

Sen, however, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.