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SC shocked at HC judge remarks in murder case

New Delhi, April 28: The Supreme Court today expressed “shock” at the “sweeping” remarks made by a Calcutta High Court judge in the Sagar Ghosh murder case.

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the deceased’s son, Trinamul dissident Hriday Ghosh, seeking a high court-monitored “fair investigation” and alleging that the accused was being protected by the state. The Supreme Court also dismissed the appeal that the matter be listed before the high court single bench, not the division bench.

“We are shocked at the observations made by the learned single judge. Rightly or wrongly, he has made the comments which he should not have made when the trial is in progress,” a bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and J. Chelameshwar of the apex court said.

On April 11, a high court division bench headed by the chief justice had stayed for three weeks the order of the single bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta asking Bengal director-general of police to explain why action was not taken against Birbhum Trinamul chief Anubrata Mondal, an accused in the Sagar murder case.

Iterating that it was “really shocked at the sweeping remarks made by the single judge”, the Supreme Court said: “We cannot interfere with the division bench order. However, we direct the division bench to expedite the matter.”

On April 10, Justice Dutta had referred to a photograph of Mamata Banerjee with Mondal at a rally and wondered “are we in safe hands?”

The judge had added: “I have taken judicial notice of the fact that accused Mondal has the blessings of the chief minister and it can be reasonably revealed that the DGP and other members of the special investigation team have not dared to take action because of political influences that the accused enjoys.”

Hriday’s lawyer Vikramjit Banerjee said in his petition to the apex court: “There is a palpable case of apprehension of the fair investigation process being subverted since the case admittedly involves very high and influential members of the state administration and who it seems are intent on protecting the murderers of the petitioner’s father.”