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Judge changes, prod doesn’t

Anubrata Mondal

Calcutta, June 17: Justice Harish Tandon of Calcutta High Court, who has been assigned to hear the murder case of a Birbhum Trinamul dissident’s father after Justice Dipankar Datta recused himself on “personal grounds”, today asked the state government why it had failed to take action against Anubrata Mondal and the other accused.

Parui resident Sagar Ghosh, whose son Hriday unsuccessfully contested the rural polls last year as an Independent, was shot dead four days after Birbhum Trinamul president Mondal instructed cadres to burn down houses of dissidents contesting the elections and throw bombs at policemen if they came to the rescue.

Footage of the Trinamul leader’s speech was telecast on a number of television channels.

Justice Tandon today asked the government pleader: “Is the TV footage not enough to take action against Anubrata Mondal and a few others accused in the case? The footage is showing that the gentleman is asking his partymen to throw bombs at the police if they tried to rescue dissidents.”

Government pleader Ashok Banerjee then requested the court to give the government time to file an affidavit responding to the judge’s queries.

“We have many things to say. We will inform you about the progress of the investigation. Please allow us to file an affidavit,” Banerjee said.

Justice Tandon gave Banerjee time till July 2.

“The state will file its affidavit by July 2 and the petitioner will give the written reply on July 7. The case will come up for hearing again on July 8,” Justice Tandon said.

This was not the first time the court expressed unhappiness over the lack of action on Mondal and the other accused in the case. Justice Datta had earlier asked the government to explain why Mondal and the others were not arrested.

Justice Dipankar Datta had on June 13 refused to hear the murder case “on personal grounds” after a brief exchange of words with government pleader Banerjee. “I won’t hear this case during my professional career. I am releasing the matter from my court. Let any other judge of this court hear the case.”

The murder case came under the high court’s scanner after Hriday moved an appeal demanding a CBI probe.

Shirshendu Sinha Roy, the lawyer appearing for Hriday, today said: “Justice Datta had also expressed unhappiness over the probe carried out the special investigating team set up by the judge himself. The team had failed to take action against Mondal.”