The Calcutta High Court has recently directed the transfer of a case relating to the death of two students in alleged police firing at Darivit in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal to the NIA (National Investigation Agency for the purpose of a probe in this 2018 matter.

A Single Bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha ordered, “Although the petitioners have prayed for the transfer of investigation to the CBI, in view of the findings recorded above, this Court is of the view that the NIA would be the proper authority to investigate into the matter. A Writ Court under Article 226 can mould relief based on the facts and findings of a case. … The entire Case Diary is returned to the CID, West Bengal. … This Court directs CID, West Bengal, to transfer the entire Case Diary and all records, evidence, and files to NIA, forthwith.”

The Bench further directed the State to pay compensation to the families of the victims both killed and injured in the incident within a period of two months.

Advocates Partha Ghosh, Ajay Chaubey, and Amal Kumar Datta represented the petitioners while Advocates Subhabrata Datta and Subir Sanyal, ASG Ashok Chakraborty, and DSGI Dhiraj Trivedi represented the respondents.

In this case, the writ petitioners sought a transfer of investigation into FIR registered by the Islampur Police Station, to the CBI in connection with an incident of firing and bombing at Darivit High School in the Islampur block of Uttar Dinajpur district in West Bengal. On September 20, 2018, the students and parents of the said school began to protest against the appointment of two teachers in Sanskrit and Urdu in the school.

A college student and an ITI student were killed in the violence at the school and it was alleged that the said students were killed due to police firing occurring due to a clash between the police and protestors. However, the police authorities denied such a charge and hence, the CID was investigating the matter.

The High Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case noted, “… this Court is of the view that the investigation of the CID, West Bengal, to say the least, is inadequate and could be otherwise within the expression, “perfunctory”. … The CID, West Bengal, may have had serious inhibitions in having to investigate any conspiracy angle that may have led to blaming any police officials for having fired any weapon, or any higher police official ordering such firing into a mob without provocation, at the instance of any person or persons in power. The allegations in the complaint dated 23rd September, 2018 have not even been slightly addressed by the CID, West Bengal, or even negated for that matter.”

The Court further observed that given the fact that the police mentioned in the chargesheet about the mobs attacking with bombs during the agitation, the first and foremost action from their end would have been to inform the Central Government and Ministry of Home Affairs about the same, so that the matter could be considered or be sent to the NIA.

“… this Court directs that the investigation into the subject FIR no. 611 of 2018 dated 20th September 2018 be transferred to the National Investigation Agency constituted under the provisions of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. The charge sheet no. 879 of 2022 dated 25.11.2022 filed by the CID, WB, shall be kept in abeyance. The NIA may in its discretion register further and other FIRs in connection with the incidents on 20th September 2018 and all other related incidents”, asserted the Court.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the pleas and ordered an NIA probe in this matter.

Cause Title- Nilkamal Sarkar v. State of West Bengal & Ors.

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