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DGP has no time, court angry

G.M.P. Reddy

Calcutta, April 2: Calcutta High Court today came down heavily on director-general of Bengal police G.M.P. Reddy after going through the officer’s written submission that he did not have enough time to examine documents related to the murder of a Trinamul dissident’s father in Birbhum.

In the submission, Reddy requested the judge to relieve him of the responsibility of heading the court-appointed special team investigating the murder of Sagar Ghosh, a case in which Birbhum Trinamul chief Anubrata Mondal is an accused. The officer cited Lok Sabha election-related responsibilities.

“I can issue a contempt rule against the DGP for his report,” said Justice Dipankar Dutta, who had translated into English the Bengali statements of witnesses for the DGP, a Bengal cadre IPS officer who hails from Karnataka.

“This court will have no option but to hand over the investigation to the CBI if the state government fails to show the court by April 7 that the police have taken action against all the accused,” the judge added.

Sagar Ghosh, a resident of Birbhum’s Parui, was shot dead before the panchayat polls last year by suspected Trinamul activists days after Mondal told party workers to burn down the houses of Trinamul rebels contesting as Independents. Sagar’s son Hriday had contested the polls as an Independent after being denied a ticket by Trinamul.

The observations made by the court today are significant because it mentions that the police had failed to take action against “one of the political leaders” who had given the provocative speech.

“The special investigation team (SIT), in its earlier report to the court, had stated that it had taken the statements of the witnesses and made video recordings,” Justice Dutta said in his order.

“In the said statement, the witnesses had mentioned a public meeting, which was held two days before the incident (Sagar Ghosh’s murder). In the said meeting, one of the political leaders had advised his partymen to attack the houses of the rebel members taking part in the panchayat polls as Independent candidates. (The) victim’s son, Hriday, had contested the election as a rebel candidate,” the order added.

The order also mentioned that when Justice Dutta had asked government pleader Ashok Banerjee to enquire whether the deputy superintendent of police in the SIT had taken action against the leader, the DSP had admitted that no action had been taken.

“After hearing the DSP, the court should issue an order asking the CBI to conduct the probe. But as the government pleader assured the court that the SIT would take action against the accused and he would submit a ‘progress’ report on Monday, the court is fixing the matter for hearing on April 7,” the order said.

Justice Dutta asked the government pleader why the police were not probing the case properly.

“Two senior officers did not agree to take the responsibility of conducting the probe. I had translated the deposition of the witnesses and asked the DGP to go through them. But now, he is saying he has no time to see a particular case because of the parliamentary elections and requesting me to release him from the responsibility of overseeing the probe. What is the actual matter?” the judge asked Banerjee.

“Should I ask the DGP to come to the courtroom or my chamber and state who are the persons preventing him to take action against the accused?” the judge asked.