GMP Reddy. File picture
Calcutta, Aug. 19: Calcutta High Court today summoned the state police chief on September 4 to explain why the court-appointed special investigation team had filed the Sagar Ghosh murder chargesheet “in haste” without informing the high court.
The July 17 chargesheet does not name Birbhum Trinamul Congress chief Anubrata Mondal. The court had asked on July 8 why the police were not taking any action against the main accused in the case.
Sagar, father of Trinamul rebel Hriday who contested last year’s panchayat polls, was shot dead a few days after Mondal exhorted party supporters to burn down the homes of dissident candidates.
Justice Harish Tandon today observed that state director-general of police G.M.P. Reddy had failed to comply with an earlier high court order to keep it posted on the probe’s progress. He questioned the government’s role too.
“Whenever the court expressed the need to call the DGP for explanation, the state opposed it. Why? The SIT (special investigation team) is a creation of the court and not of the government. Why then does the government raise objections?” the judge said.
“The court has every right to know whether the investigation by the SIT is a moonshine probe or is going properly.”
On July 22, Justice Tandon had learnt from government pleader Ashok Banerjee that the SIT had filed the chargesheet, minus Mondal’s name, at the Suri chief judicial magistrate’s court on July 17.
“It’s a matter of surprise that the chargesheet was filed in haste and without giving prior information to the high court,” he said today.
“Ashok Banerjee had assured the court that every development of the investigation would be informed immediately.”
Senior advocate and Trinamul MP Kalyan Banerjee, sent by the state government to defend it, argued that “this court” lacked the jurisdiction to summon Reddy after the chargesheet had been filed in the trial court.
Hriday’s lawyer Phiroze Edulji told the court: “We hope now you understand the situation. So we leave the matter in your hands.”
Justice Dipankar Dutta of the high court, who set up the SIT in February, too had summoned Reddy on April 11 to explain why action hadn’t been taken against Mondal.
That directive came on April 10 when Justice Dutta, referring to photos showing chief minister Mamata Banerjee sharing a dais with Mondal, had wondered aloud “are we in safe hands?” and “what is the message this will send?”
Suggesting “Mondal has the blessings of the chief minister”, he had added: “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.”
But Reddy didn’t have to appear before Justice Dutta. On an appeal from the state, a division bench headed by then Chief Justice A.K. Mishra stayed the single-judge order.
Hriday challenged the division bench order in the apex court, which deleted certain observations by Justice Dutta and sent the matter back to the high court. Justice Dutta then recused himself on “personal grounds” and the case was assigned to Justice Tandon.