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Damayanti to probe Madhyamgram rape

Damayanti Sen

The high court on Monday directed Damayanti Sen, the CID deputy inspector general (operation), to probe the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl in Madhyamgram and her death. The report has to be filed on February 10.

Justice Dipankar Dutta, who allowed Sen to conduct the probe “in her own way”, ruled: “The officer will appoint other officers of her choice in the investigating team and conduct the probe under the Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Penal Code.”

The probe, the judge said, will have to be conducted in an “impartial manner” and “no person should try to influence” it. “The probe will be conducted under the supervision of the court.”

Justice Dutta passed the order after advocate-general Bimal Chatterjee submitted that the government had no objection to Sen being assigned the probe.

“Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, too, wants Sen to conduct the probe. Sen herself has expressed her desire to take up the assignment,” Chatterjee submitted.

When contacted, the 16-year-old’s father said: “I am keeping faith in the state government. I have heard a lot about Damayanti Sen. I am satisfied with the court’s decision for the time being.”

According to the complaint, the 16-year-old had been gang-raped on October 26 and again the next day when she and her father were returning home after lodging a complaint with Madhyamgram police station. The family complained they had to leave Madhyamgram following threats to withdraw the complaint.

On December 23, the girl wad admitted to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital with severe burns. She died on December 31.

Monday’s ruling followed a petition filed by the father on January 10, seeking a CBI probe and accusing the police of failing to provide security to his daughter.

“My client has no faith in the police inquiry. The police are trying to shield the culprits. They are not even providing adequate protection to my client’s family. The probe should be transferred to the CBI,” Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, counsel for the father, had submitted while moving the petition on January 10.

In response to the plea, Justice Dutta ordered the state home secretary to file an affidavit on January 17, stating whether the government was willing to hand over the investigation to the CBI.

The advocate-general did not file the affidavit but opposed the plea for a CBI probe and submitted: “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.”

The judge asked the advocate-general to inform him on Monday whether Sen was ready to take up the probe. Chatterjee informed the court when the case came for hearing during the day that Sen was ready for the assignment.

During the January 17 hearing, Justice Dutta had also asked Chatterjee that the home secretary would have to file the affidavit in compliance with the January 10 order.

On Monday, the judge asked the home secretary to file the affidavit though the advocate-general by February 7. He expressed his wish to dispose of the case on February 10.

Sen, who had pursued with the Park Street gang rape case and got four of the accused arrested after the chief minister dubbed the allegation shajano ghatona (fabricated incident), could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Sen, who was joint commissioner (crime) during the Park Street incident, was transferred as DIG (training) in Barrackpore. Recently, she was appointed DIG (operations) of the CID.