Court rap for Nanoor delay

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By OUR LEGAL REPORTER in Calcutta
  • Published 16.01.04
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Calcutta, Jan. 16: Calcutta High Court today severely reprimanded the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government for delay in holding the Nanoor massacre trial.

On July 27, 2000, 11 Trinamul Congress supporters were brutally killed allegedly by CPM activists in Nanoor in Birbhum district.

A division bench of Justice .A. Chowdhury and Justice Girish Gupta today threatened to send the case to the Supreme Court through the chief justice of Calcutta High Court for a recommendation to have the trial out of the state if the government fails to hold it in a Birbhum court on February 4.

After hearing out both the parties, the bench rejected the bail prayers of seven accused and directed them to “face the trial first”.

Farmers owing allegiance to the Trinamul were working in a paddy field when a mob of CPM workers attacked them. Eleven of them were tied up and dragged to a nearby club. The next day, their mutilated bodies were found in the paddy field. The incident sparked a furore with Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee demanding a CBI probe.

According to court documents, the victims’ relatives lodged an FIR with the Sujpur police station in Nanoor. The police arrested all the 77 people named in the FIR, but later released 70 CPM workers among them on personal recognition bonds.

A trial began at the Bolpur subdivisional court and the police submitted a chargesheet against all the accused. However it dragged on with the CPM workers repeatedly skipping hearings. When they finally made an appearance, the public prosecutor was missing.

The case has been pending for over two-and-a-half years and the accused CPM workers continue to evade trial. Two months ago, they had moved bail petitions before the high court, which rejected them and directed the state government to speed up the trial.

The bench came to know that the trial is still pending when seven accused — none of them are CPM workers — appealed for bail today.

The presiding judge of the bench, Justice Chowdhury, demanded an explanation from state government counsels on the delay. He also wanted to know why the 70 CPM workers, whose bail prayers were turned down two months ago, had not been re-arrested.